Design Inspiration: Ibiza
The Spanish island of Ibiza may just be one of the best getaways for clearing the mind and finding new inspiration. While it’s known for its jet-setting clientele and all-night party culture, this sunny island is full of peaceful places to drop out and reset. Known as the White Island, Ibiza combines the best of high-end art and design with the traditional Spanish coastal lifestyle; uncluttered interiors, outdoor living, rustic finishes, and fresh, local foods.
Since the 1960s, Ibiza has attracted artists, designers and Bohemian types from all over the world. The island lifestyle centers around the arts: contemporary artists, traditional handcrafts, and live music. Weekly markets and summer festivals bring artisans and visitors together. An interest in ecology and preserving traditional farms has brought an influx of sustainable farming that supports the island’s many farm-to-table restaurants. Despite being a high-end destination, Ibiza is also a hippie utopia in many ways.
Exploring Historic Ibiza
Of course, almost every Mediterranean island has ancient streets to explore, and Ibiza is no exception. Ibiza’s old town, known as Dalt Vila, sits high on a hill, surrounded by ancient city walls. At the peak you’ll find Cathedral of the Lady of Our Snows, built in the 15th century. Visit the Madina Yabisa Interpretation Centre to learn about the interesting history of the city during the Islamic era. Walking across the old drawbridge and hiking up the cobblestone streets is a journey back to traditional living. The city is still home to many residents and full of interesting shops, galleries and restaurants. Head up there in the late afternoon, find a spot to order a cocktail, and take in the sunset views.
Founded by the Phoenicians over 2600 years ago, Ibiza has plenty of interesting archeology to explore. The Archaeological Museum displays finds from Phoenician and Roman times in Dalt Vila; a second museum location in the 7th century necropolis of Puig des Molins includes the world’s largest collection of ancient tombs. The name Puig des Molins actually means “hill of windmills”, and was covered in windmills in medieval times.
Design Inspiration On Ibiza
With its unusual mix of Bohemian artisans and high-end contemporary design, Ibiza is a design-lover’s paradise. The sunny climate has influenced the use of indoor-outdoor architectural elements like big windows, sliding walls, and shaded patios. Minimalist interiors are often punctuated by contemporary art and furniture.
The local fusion of art, craft and design has resulted in some amazing places to shop, or just browse for inspiration. Some of them are temporarily closed, but expect to be open in Summer of 2021. Here are a few of my favorites:
Sluiz is a huge warehouse with a weird and wonderful selection of colorful home decor – just wandering through is entertaining.
TANIS might be the home base of Ibiza’s earthy, minimalist style. Here you’ll find linen-slipcovered furnishings and toss pillows, modern lighting, and contemporary art that epitomize the island’s laid back, rustic-meets-modern aesthetic.
Ibiza Interiors is another resource that mixes rustic and contemporary design. Architect Jurjen van Hulzen has curated an impressive selection of mid-century furniture pieces, Ibiza-inspired woven lighting, and minimalist bath fixtures.
Of course, you can’t skip the hippie culture when shopping in Ibiza. The iconic Las Dalias market is a combination street market, art festival, and concert venue with a chic outdoor restaurant and juice bar. Summer evenings feature open-air art shows and DJ parties.
Art Galleries and Museums
Despite being a small island, Ibiza has world-class art collections to visit. The Museu d’Art Contemporani features changing exhibitions of internationally renowned artists. The historic building’s glass floors display an ancient archaeological site, creating an interesting contrast.
Ibiza’s history as an artists’ enclave has given it a well-established gallery culture. Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté’s Lune Rouge in Ibiza Town is a favorite, and Lio Malca’s exhibition spaces La Nave near Santa Gertrudis and La Nave Salinas are always stimulating; be sure to check out Club de Diario de Ibiza and Espacio Micus as well. Restaurants like the Art Café Can Tixedo near San Rafael and the El Naranjo Restaurant in Santa Eulalia also host artists’ exhibitions.
The annual Bloop festival turns Ibiza into an open air gallery with art pieces that focus on global issues. Gigantic murals, street vendors, workshops and music continue the tradition of Ibiza as a vibrant center for culture.
Ibiza’s Chicest Hotels
This jet-setting isle features the work of world-class architects and interior designers.
The colorful and modern W Ibiza overlooks popular Santa Eulalia beach on the northeastern coast. Designed by the Baranowitz + Kronenberg studio, the vibrant interiors are inspired by the freewheeling local culture.
Legado Ibiza Finca Hotel: This 18th-century farmhouse has been transformed into an 11-room boutique hotel that celebrates traditional island culture.
Los Enamorados: High on the rocks overlooking the sea, this revamped former hostel is the epitome of a 1970s-inspired, bohemian paradise.
La Granja is a small, chic hotel set on a 16th-century finca amid acres of sustainable farmland. Ancient archways, stone floors and cane pergolas are accented by salvaged wood and rustic-minimalist furnishings. The restaurant serves a farm-fresh menu, and there’s live music several nights a week.
Where To Eat
Bottega il Buco: Owned by famed New York City restaurant Il Buco, this is the perfect place for a light lunch and fresh-baked focaccia. You can also shop for staples like canned fish and olive oil, or tableware and linens from the Il Buco Vita collection.
Cala Gracioneta Chiringuito is the definition of a relaxed Ibiza beach restaurant, complete with a secluded cove, a canopy of pine trees and amazing views. This is the place for anything grilled, plus Spanish rice and seafood cooked over the fire as it has been for centuries.
The W Hotel Ibiza has two great restaurants on site. Elegant La Llama serves fresh grilled meats and local seafood. Chiringuito Blue is an upscale version of the chiringuito experience – grilled fish and local produce served on a white sand beach.
For the real chiringuito experience, don’t miss Cala Xuclar. This is the quintessential chiringuito – in a quiet cove at the end of a steep road, sand in your toes, eating local fish right off the grill with a side of potatoes and a cerveza to wash it all down. It’s pure bliss.
If you’re looking for historic charm, check out Sa Capella restaurant, located in a former church. It’s a mix of classic fare and contemporary dishes, served up with plenty of ancient ambiance.
Over the years, many artists and creators have declared Ibiza to be the nearest place to heaven on earth. With its sunny climate, incredible views, and unsurpassed culture of art and design, I just may have to agree. It’s the kind of place one must return to again and again.