‘It is almost invisible,' says Philippe Starck, of the new Port Adriano marina in Mallorca. 'The architecture exists only on the second view. When you first arrive, you don’t notice anything and after a while you start to see.’ So don't expect a grand architectural statement then. It may have been designed for mega yachts, but there's nothing bling about Starck's design. Instead he has opted for a pared down, low slung and elegant structure that is home to restaurants, bars, a car park, fashion and nautical stores, as well as a marina.
The architect was brought on board by Antonio Zaforteza, owner of Ocibar – the island’s flourishing nautical-management company. Starck's love for all things oceanic and his experience in yacht design, however, ensured he needed little coaxing. ‘I cannot survive without the sea,’ he explains, adding: ‘I design mega yachts for other people, but I only have a small boat. It’s grey and incredibly ugly with lots of boxes of wine and mattresses for the children.’
Located on the south-west bay of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Balearic Islands, the marina has up until now been a rather disappointing docking space for yachts and speed boats. Inspired by his intense dislike for onsite car parking spaces, Starck’s mission was to create a structure that artfully concealed an underground car park below sea level. ‘I’ve seen a lot of harbours - they are all horrible. And there is worse - there are marinas. Marinas for me are basically huge parking lots.’
Instead Starck has created a clean, linear, two-level structure featuring concrete columns, topped off with a slatted wood roof and a striking staircase lit from beneath. Design details include street lights modelled on standing lamps, handsome numbered steel mooring plates and chic bollards. ‘When I design something I try make it so that it doesn’t become obsolete in 20 years,’ says Starck. ‘We are stuck in a ‘Kleenex’ society and the only way to work is to create timeless design.’