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In free-spirited Barcelona, a new residential tower is rising 1,300 feet above the Mediterranean Sea. Antares is the first residential tower by world renowned French architect Odile Decq, who has won a number of awards, including the Gold Lion of Architecture at the Venice Biennale. It’s also her first project in Spain. With 89 residences spread out over 28 floors, a rooftop terrace with an infinity pool, a separate floor of wellness amenities, a garden, and a restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Romain Fornell, Antares brings a new level of luxury to Barcelona’s seaside neighborhood of Diagonal Mar. Departures got an exclusive first look at the interiors of the luxurious apartments.
Looking at Antares from outside, you immediately notice the undulating curves of the balconies, some of which are red—Decq’s signature color. However, you might not notice the clever tricks she has employed to make the tower stand out. Like the ancient Greeks, who tapered columns to make them seem taller, Decq has distorted and narrowed the building’s curves on the upper floors to achieve a heightening effect. “I like to play with the limits of the perception of space,” Decq told Departures.
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Decq first visited Barcelona in 1995 and loved how free and open to possibilities the city seemed—more so than Paris, where she is based. “I had the feeling that this city is the place for joy, for having fun, at the same time, very colorful, very baroque,” she said. “And this is how I started to think about this tower.”
Her penchant for playing with your perception of space continues inside. Entering the building, you immediately walk into a triple-height lobby with a mirrored ceiling—another trick up Decq’s sleeve. Just off the lobby is Grand Café Rouge by Romain Fornell, who runs 13 restaurants in Barcelona, including the Michelin-starred Caelis. Decq and the building’s developers—Shaftesbury Asset Management Group—met with Fornell to conceptualize the restaurant’s design. “I asked him what did he want for the restaurant and he wanted to have a long bar,” Decq said, adding that he requested to have the kitchen right behind the bar. So she created a nearly 50-foot bar that curves up around a column like a red ribbon, designed the tables and chairs, and is overseeing every detail right down to the plates.
“I love to go to the end of the project. I always call that global design,” Decq, who is known not only for the exteriors, but also the striking interiors of buildings like Rome’s MACRO museum, explained. “For me design is not just doing the outside of the building, it’s not just organizing the plan, it’s doing the global design.”
Decq took the same all-encompassing approach to designing the residences. Though the developers initially wanted to hire an interior designer, she convinced them to let her design everything from the kitchen islands to the lacquered doors and brass door handles. For the bathrooms, she conjured up solid surface vanities with integrated drawers and chose wall tiles and floors by Porcelanosa. She drew inspiration for the model apartments from Barcelona-based painters—Mirò, Tàpies, and Chillida—and included their art on the walls in addition to midcentury furniture by the likes of Le Corbusier and Gaetano Pesce.
The building offers a range of one- to four-bedroom apartments, duplexes, and penthouses starting at €850,000. The apartments are made for Mediterranean living, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, spacious terraces with sea views, and bright, airy living spaces equipped with smartphone-controlled intelligent home systems.
Residents can enjoy a number of exclusive amenities. The building has not one but two pools—one on the rooftop and the other inside. A mirrored ceiling gives the indoor pool an almost surreal feeling. A 100,000-square-foot wellness center boasts a Technogym fitness center, a cocoon-like yoga pod, steam rooms and sauna, treatment rooms, and a relaxation area. The garden features a paddle court and virtual golf simulator. Residents also get access to concierge service and 24/7 security. The building will be ready for move-ins in early 2021.