Travel: Seville – Design, Pattern, and Light
Continuing the travel series, today I’m highlighting a few of my discoveries on my walking paths through Seville, Spain of architectural patterns and the capture of light and shadow.
Above is a courtyard view inside the Alcazar, a royal palace built in the 10th century. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was my absolute favorite architectural site in all of Seville.
This view is the most preserved portion of the absolutely stunning Mudejar architecture, which is a style resulting from the blending of Moorish and European architecture; an outcome from the Moorish invasion and Spanish Reconquista that spanned over 700 years.
As time marched on, Renaissance styles brought on more detailed painted patterns in curvilinear shapes with fewer geometric patterns and intricate carvings. Pattern and color invoke balance and interest in many design styles.
At the Alacazar, the dance between light and shadow is easily seen through archway design and they create meaningful moments of transition. It’s captivating to watch how the sun’s movement completely changes the look of the facade throughout the day.
Muderaj architecture has incredibly detailed plaster carvings and stunning arches that draw your gaze upward to marvel at juxtapositions of space and light. These archways are positioned to take advantage of direct sunlight, so when the sun hits the arches’ undersides, the colored yellow pigment augments the sunlight’s color into streams of gold light.
Archways can also draw your attention inward, inviting a visit, from light or people. Here the same archway has the exterior side painted in yellow to complement the bright Mediterranean light, while the interior side of burnt orange calms the eye from brightness.
Doorways are another transitional space that highlight your arrival. Notice the contrast between the classical and modern door styles in these two photos. The modern door contains a nod to the medieval in the iron bolt detail, and the classical door contains a pattern you’d still see in use today.
Just look at the intricate pattern and metalwork in this door! Imagine this 30 foot tall door was made by a metal smith who pounded and poured every bit of that detail by hand.
A rug and glass bottles for shade?! A couple of resourceful locals create shade, with reusable materials nonetheless, over balcony windows for those hot and sunny days and still allow in light. I bet the interior shows a unique pattern created by those bottles!
Seville’s paths and courtyards also make use of contrasting pattern and texture with simple materials. Unique paths can lead you into enjoyment and discovery, and a plain sidewalk is a boring sidewalk, so Seville will have none of that!
Opportunities are everywhere to bring pattern to your outdoor spaces, whether it’s your backyard patio, front walkway, or on a teeny tiny balcony. I enjoy opportunities to capture color and sunlight in both interior and exterior spaces, so as the natural light changes throughout the day and seasons, my client’s home is an ever-changing work of architectural art.
So where will your path lead you? Travel a unique and beautiful path by having our San Francisco interior design firm lead you from flat interiors to dynamic spaces and from boring paths to inspirational passageways!
San Francisco interior designer Kimball Starr finds design inspiration globally and locally to create residential interiors that synchronize with clients’ lifestyles and surrounding environments.