Growing up in a very international family, my sister Isa and I always felt like ´citizens of the world.´ We weren’t considered Spanish, and we weren’t considered American, but because of this we acquired a sense of wonder and a need for travel and culture, taking something with us from every country we visited and lived in. A need to build a sense of community around a love for great food, wine and a beautifully set table. This is how Balandra came about: a new kind of culture and community in which citizens of the world can come together and celebrate the uniqueness of each other's heritage and allow it to infuse others. More specifically, it all started in our humble and cosy Shoreditch apartment as we hosted our ‘Sobremesa’ dinners for loved ones and strangers.
After a year of further daydreaming, Isa and I decided that what better way to launch a brand centered around sharing experiences by inviting people to the home where we grew up in Majorca: Casa Balandra. It's our playground, where we can explore the concept and take in in directions that maybe we hadn’t thought of originally. This project and this space is very personal to us, every corner has a story and a memory attached to it, the dining room filled with candles and red Gordiola hand-blown wine glasses, the sound of our parents and their friends laughing over their empty plates, the garden in spring being filled with hidden Easter eggs, the corner of the kitchen where the house phone was located and the chair next to it (the telephone chair). We knew that the love and passion we felt for our home would organically infuse into the experience we created there.
After my sister and I moved away, the house suddenly felt empty and lonely and away with us went all its magic. So when I moved back to Mallorca to start the refurbishment of the house there was no one better to embark on the journey with than Cecile. If we had to give this wonderful human a title it would be Chief of All Things Beautiful. Her eye for detail and the way she enhances every space and object into a 'moment' helped me inject life back into the house. Living in La Casa again for the first time in 10 years was extremely nostalgic but I think that our personal connection to this home is what gives it a magical touch that people can connect with.
The question we keep getting is what is Casa Balandra? In simple terms, it’s an experiential guesthouse and creative residency house. We rent the whole house out to individuals and curate their experience here as well as hosting artist residencies (the first one soon approaching this November), and creating ´Indulgence Weekends´ where we partner with chefs and center the weekend around food, wine and siestas. The longer answer to this question is that we are constantly developing as people and as a concept. Balandra is more of a culture than it is a service so we are constantly dreaming up new ways to collaborate with people and brands and come up with memorable experiences. Casa Balandra is a concept that will explore, change and develop alongside us, a project that may be here one day, and somewhere else the next and will adapt to its environment, bringing with it a little of every culture it has absorbed along the way.
Photography by Nuria Val