In Madrid, Zooco Estudio prioritized simplicity, organic textures, and daylighting to create an artist’s studio for a painter and writer in his fifties. "The client wanted a workshop where he could write, paint, and meditate," architect Miguel Crespo Picot says. "The design is based on ideas about austerity, warmth, having different perspectives, and the notion that having just enough-and not more than what is necessary-is the key to creativity."
Natural oak, wicker, and bright white walls define this Madrid art studio designed by Zooco Estudio for a painter and writer.
Located in Tercio y Terol, a historic suburb in the San Isidro neighborhood of the Carabanchel district, the studio lies on the upper level of the artist’s home. "It’s a quiet, economical area with larger homes near the center of town," says Picot. The firm completely reimagined the home’s upper level, which was dark and compartmentalized with small windows and a thick concrete slab floor.
Located on the upper level of the artist’s home, the studio features built-in cabinetry around a mirror and sink, where the painter can wash his brushes and hands.
The sink area is crafted from smooth stone, warm bronze, tactile wicker, and natural oak.
To recreate the home’s upper level as a light-filled studio, the design team removed all of the partition walls, joined the spaces, and employed skylights, mirrors, larger openings, and built-in shelving, cabinetry, and drawers. "We created open-plan exhibition areas, different workspaces, and storage to hold books, papers, supplies, and paintings," Picot says. "We positioned the mirrors at very specific perspective points to reflect sunlight, play visual tricks, and provide a sense of luminosity."
Oak shelving frames a glass door that leads to a large terrace, where the artist can paint or rest.
The indoor/outdoor quality of the art studio supplies creative inspiration for the painter and writer.
The mirrors bounce light throughout the interior and make the studio feel larger than it is. "Spaciousness and light are important for painting and writing," says Picot. Ledges integrated beneath the mirrors provide places for the artist to display, analyze, and correct paintings.
A ladder leads to a loft area for meditation above cabinetry made of oak and wicker panels.
A large mirror with oak ledges provides a place for the artist to post and review his work.
The architect and his team also designed a loft area for meditation, and a large terrace, where the artist can paint, rest, and feel linked with the natural landscape. "It was important to create this outdoor connection because the studio is at the same height as the treetops around it," Picot says.
Zooco Estudio created different work and exhibition areas that make the studio feel both expansive and flexible.
Organic materials like oak and wicker lend texture and warmth, and reference the surrounding tree trunks and branches. The design team created a built-in storage system with oak and wicker panels around a basin where the artist can wash his paintbrushes.
The staircase that leads from the home’s first level to the upper-level art studio serves as a display area for artworks and features built-in storage.
The bright white walls and staircase offset the warm tone and texture of the oak treads and cabinetry.
"The natural textures with the white walls and white-painted metal trusses establish the character of this studio," Picot says. "The client wanted to have contact with natural elements that would help create a comfortable and inspirational studio—a refuge for an artist."