It’s the beginning of January and coming from a snowy Venice, the blue sky and the striking sun are quite a pleasant relief. We’ve just got off the 8am flight and we’ve made our way from El Prat airport to what we then discover is the Barrio Gotico district of Barcelona. We’ve arranged to meet designer Alberto Lievore and Jeannette Altherr in their studio in Plaza Berenguer, in the late morning.
It is about 12 o’clock when we get to their door. Someone lets us up. Jeannette Altherr is the one opening the door as we reach the last floor of the building, a luminous attic. We step into their studio. She walks us to a big table in the centre of a bright, charming veranda. We sit down, in the bright, natural light of a typical noon in Barcelona. We’re pleasantly surrounded by plants and aromatic herbs. As we sit at the table she offers us a cup of moka coffee, which made us feel home. Jeannette is German, but you can sense something French in her, somehow. It’s because she’s from south-western Germany, she says, quite close to the French border. She founded Lievore Altherr Molina with Alberto Lievore and Manel Molina in the 90’s, the name of the studio changed into Lievore Altherr later on, in 2016. We find out she lives on the mountains, about 40 minutes away from the studio, with her family, in the tranquillity of the countryside. Alberto Lievore joins us on the veranda, together with the rest of the team of the studio: a fresh group of designer and operators. The ambience is casual, you could breathe a friendly and domestic atmosphere. We all sit together enjoying the warmth of the glasshouse.
We all step outside to a lovely tiled floor terrace overlooking the city. A view both to the sea and to the Catalan mountains. Quite enviable. Olive trees and rosemary in bloom increase the architectural fascination.
Mr. Lievore is a charismatic and communicative person, with great cultural baggage. He tells us he moved to Barcelona in the 70s, a fertile period due to the cultural revolution, perfect for him to take roots to his design visions. He describes the architecture of the studio and the several renovations they made over the years.
He shows us around. A vivid white and mild wooden-tones environment. White crackling wooden floors. A bright light coming from big windows. The studio is full of remnants from past projects: scale models, excess materials, drawings, all arranged in a tidy disorder.
It’s always curious to perceive by intuitions life and personality of people by getting a glimpse of their working space. It’s something extremely fascinating. It is rather difficult to picture the wrong portrait. Jeannette Altherr and Alberto Lievore are two passionate, cultural, pleasant individuals, that’s what joins them.
And there we were, talking about form, the essence of design, capitalism, food, and Majorca.