Home Inspiration Interview | Raúl Martins

Interview | Raúl Martins

by Elena Abascal
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Raúl Martins

Raúl Martins | Natuzzi | Casa Decor 2018

“Hisbalit mosaic tiles add opportunities to any project”

The media considers Raúl Martins a luxury interior designer, with an eclectic combination of classic and contemporary styles.

A lover of Art Deco, elegance and sophistication, Martins has been an interior designer for over 20 years, creating all types of projects: shops, restaurants, corporate headquarters, etc.

He is the head of his own design studio with a multidisciplinary team that encompasses the various areas of interior design, décor, architecture and graphic design.

Hisbalit took the opportunity to interview the architect of interiors Raúl Martins, with whom we have been fortunate to work on a number of projects. In the interview he gives us his insights into the trends for surfaces in 2019 he considers essential. The starting point for many projects.

Raúl Martins

Raúl Martins | Ofelia’s Apartment | Natuzzi | Casa Decor 2018

In your own words, how do you define the values that identify Raúl Martins?

The values I identify with are design, quality, exclusivity and personal engagement. These are the priorities in all my projects.

Black&White is one of your preferred combinations. What does it offer? How do you combine the two to create harmony in a space?

It’s true that I use this colour dichotomy a lot. It’s a great contrast that allows me to create a specific look, but its only one of the combinations I like. Not all of my projects require this kind of dramatism.

To create a harmonious space using these colours one has to add new tones to soften and diminish the importance of black and white.

Attention to detail is one of your priorities in every project. How did you conceive your “Apartment for Ofelia” project at Casa Decor 2018?

For that project I created the person of Ofelia; that way I had a reference of her needs, habits and specific personality. That allowed me to design the space as if she were a real client, to see a space to fit that person: someone cultured, feminine, a traveller.

After winning the Pascua Ortega Award at Casa Décor, what is your next professional challenge?

At the moment I’m focussed on two projects that are a big challenge in my career. One of them is a large house where everything is being designed from scratch. It’s a complete architectural, interior design and landscaping project, using the best materials. It’s a beautiful project and I’m working with the best professionals and it will be finished by mid-2019.

I’ve also begun a project for a hotel that I’m very excited about. It’s a new path in my professional career.

Raúl Martins

Raúl Martins | Ofelia’s Apartment | Natuzzi | Casa Decor 2018

What historical period do you identify with in terms of aesthetics?

I love Art Deco, because of its elegance, harmony and sophistication.

A personal Icon? A decorative technique?

I very much admire the ability of Jean Michel Frank to create high quality interiors using very few elements; his handling of plastic effects and scales. And especially a technique he used in furniture design with furnishings upholstered in vellum and with metal accessories.

Functionality or aesthetics? Lines or curves?

Aesthetics have to be functional, if not there are failing their purpose. And everything functional should be beautiful.

As for curves, I like interiors that require a plastic dynamism to make an impact. For a well-ordered and functional space, I prefer straight lines.

What are the challenges in renovating a space?

You must always analyse the potential of a project, thinking not of its current state but its future possibilities. Another important point is to empathise with the person who will use the space; projects should always be “customised”.

Raúl Martins

Living room by Raúl Martins

What rule should never be broken when decorating?

Always find a balance between the elements and colours. This is the perfect rule to create a coherent space.

You have given conferences and workshops highlighting the importance of order in the search for balance in a home. What advice can you give to achieve it?

Order highlights the project. A good project, no matter how dynamic and agile, needs to be organised, otherwise you can’t understand or enjoy the space. You should always look for lines to respect; every project has them, no matter how subtle, they are always there.

You have worked with Hisbalit on several occasions. Why use mosaic tiles in your projects? What do they contribute?

I think mosaic tiles are very versatile. You can create many different designs. They also provide texture to a space, which is very important in my projects. The range of colours Hisbalit has to offer is very similar to the palette I use in my projects; they fit perfectly with me and my style.

Raúl Martins’ keys to achieving harmony and comfort at home?

Comfort is something personal and should be tailored to each individual client depending on their lifestyle, age, habits, etc. Harmony requires all the elements to be in balance, an understanding between them. The same thing happens with materials, colours, etc.

Raúl Martins

Raúl Martins | Embassy of Portugal | Casa Decor 2017

3 rules to create elegance in bathrooms?

My 3 rules are: a good selection of materials, good lighting and a harmonious, balanced selection of colour ranges.

Private homes, corporate headquarters, social clubs… You have executed hundreds of projects in your professional career. What was the project that marked a “Before and After”?

I think my greatest challenge I’m facing right now. The large house I’m designing from scratch demands all of my “savoir faire”, all of my 20 years’ of experience as an interior designer. I have a large, multidisciplinary and international team. To coordinate everything and having to create all kinds of finishes, lighting, surfaces, carpentry, and unique design features is a huge challenge for me.

How important are surfaces when creating spaces?

The surfacing of a space is fundamental. A good project must take its point of departure from surfacing and cladding. That is the starting point that can give a great deal of character and personality to a space.

What do you see as the latest trends in this area for 2019?

2019 will bring in a new palette of colours; much more fresh, full of colour and positive energy.

Raúl Martins

Raúl Martins | Ofelia’s Apartment | Natuzzi | Casa Decor 2018

In your latest work you have chosen personalised designs by Hisbalit for the floors of apartments and bathrooms: What do these contribute to your projects?

I very much like the way you can fill a space with character thanks to Hisbalit mosaic tiles. It’s a highly versatile, personal material that makes each project unique.

Has the ability to create totally personalised designs influenced your choice of Hisbalit?

I love versatility; the ability to make every project different by using the infinite range of colours, finishes and textures Hisbalit has to offer.

What characteristics do you think define Hisbalit’s mosaic tiles?

Hisbalit mosaic tiles add opportunities to any project. The tiles have a wide range of finishes that can be selected and used to create just the desired effect. This allows for a level of detail beyond compare. And also, Hisbalit has a great team of professionals to help you with your ideas.

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