Material Gain

The designer of the Cotton House Hotel in Barcelona on creating a home-from-home in the heart of Spain’s most sophisticated city

Acclaimed Catalan artist and designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has worked on many projects, but his refurbishment of the Cotton House Hotel has a more personal significance.

Cotton House, Barcelona – Hotel No. 78

Acclaimed Catalan artist and designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has worked on many projects, but his refurbishment of the Cotton House Hotel has a more personal significance: “Our studio is here, my house is here, I walk my dogs around here.” His local eye for detail has given the Cotton House a new lease on life.

The Cotton House is tailor made for a special stay in Barcelona. The former headquarters of the city’s Cotton Textile Foundation, it is housed in a landmark 19th-century neoclassical building. Rosa-Violán’s sympathetic refurbishment of the building has retained original elements, such as the exquisite inlaid parquet floor tiles, boiserie-embellished walls and ceiling frescoes, as well as the famous spiral staircase, built in 1957, suspended from the metal frame of the upper floor – the only one of its kind in the whole of Europe.

Through a mirrored vestibule is the hotel’s airy entrance hall, built to accommodate the horses and carts of the tradesmen who once unloaded their bolts here. True to its roots, the thread count remains reassuringly high throughout the building. Fluffy cotton floral displays dot shared spaces, and backlit fabric books shine out from glass bookcases in the hotel’s restaurant, Batuar. The bedrooms take their names from different cottons, so you could be staying in Madras, Taffeta, or Egyptian. And, of course, only the finest cottons and linens are deployed throughout, from the gloriously soft sheets on the king-size beds that grace the 83 stylish and comfortable rooms to the plush restaurant napkins.

Old traditions continue in the adjoining L’Atelier, a salon where guests can choose their
cloth and be measured and dressed for suits and shirts by some of the city’s top bespoke tailors, a luminous glass conservatory, a rooftop pool with a view of the Sagrada Família, and a 400-square-meter garden terrace, the perfect spot for sipping the unique Gossypium cocktail, crafted by the hotel’s expert mixologists. At Batuar, you can dine on modern Catalan tapas, such as foie gras lollipops, or indulge in a Spanish brunch featuring Ibérico ham and crispy langostinos. Book a stay at the Cotton House and let it weave its silken spell.

 

 

 

 

 

A Discussion With Lázaro

 

What was your inspiration for the Cotton House’s design?

I thought it needed to be eclectic like the city itself, which has both the downtown and the beach, and all kinds of styles coexisting within it: Gothic and European, Modernism and Regionalism, etc. At the same time, we wanted it to convey a very approachable, familial feel that would appeal to anyone.

Did you take the building’s history into account?

Yes. It was the center of the Catalan textile industry in the 19th century, so we used a lot of white, the color of cotton and linen, to open up and brighten the spaces. We mixed and matched; we retained the original mahogany console tables but also brought in ‘50s-style classic club sofas. We even made a special perfume, inspired by cotton, that is diffused throughout the hotel.

What impression are you hoping guests will take away from their stayat the Cotton House?

I think you can find many comfortable hotels in the world that are full of design for the sake of design. With the Cotton House, we wanted it to tell a unique story in the way that it represents the rich history of the building, and yet it has been revitalized and refreshed in just the same way that Barcelona continues to reinvent itself. That’s why
I wanted it to have the feel of a regular bourgeois Catalan home of that era, yet with all the comforts of a luxury hotel.