on the spanish island of mallorca, a building dating back to the early 20th century has been carefully refurbished by aulets arquitectes and carles oliver to reveal the layers of its history. the project saw the transformation of a family-run café into a place for the musicians, songwriters and emerging artists of the town of manacor.
all images © josé hevia
the lliro family has ran the café for more than 30 years, making it somewhat of a local institution. to adapt the space, the brief included modifying the acoustics and renewing the kitchen, bathrooms and other facilities to meet current regulations. the renovation was carried out with the least amount of resources possible and with the aim of making the clientele feel at home. to preserve this essence, aulets and carles oliver wanted to make the history of the place visible, bringing together the different stages of its life – from a home at the beginning of the 20th century, to a bread oven in the 50s, and a bar in the 80s.
the renovation followed a ‘not to do’ concept. therefore, traces of walls, wooden and plaster remains from the old false ceilings, and old hydraulic floor tiles have been exposed. the old bar, the ‘macael’ marble tables and black synthetic leather chairs and stools have been also preserved, since they have been in service for 30 years. also, the bread oven bricks and iron plates have been reused to build the new toilets. the sandstone inner walls have been demolished by hand-saw, with the fragments being reused at the ground floor facade, in order to initiate a dialogue within the first-floor facade
in the current context of climate crisis, the project investigates and demonstrates the capabilities to solve contemporary programs of local and ecological resources that constitute the material culture of the place. the building materials’ selection to improve better acoustics has prioritized self-sufficiency, reduced energy consumption, and social sustainability. in the island context, these quantifiable vectors coincide with the local landscape and the material culture: the stage ceiling has been insulated with dried neptune-grass coming from nearby urban beaches, self-made by the lliro family. posidonia is a protected marine plant and appropriate permits have been requested.
the new interior acoustic walls are made of KMO bricks, produced by a local family workshop and cooked with biomass. usually these bricks are made in the shape of a trapezoid to facilitate the construction of arches. in this case, they have been placed upright, such as fish scales, in order to disrupt the flatness of the walls and to prevent the acoustic reverb.
if the product required by the program is not produced locally, the less polluting option has been chosen, such as FSC-label pine woodworks or ‘eco-clay’ raw earth-boards from zaragoza (spain) to protect the previous iron roof structure from fire. the wide range of construction techniques show the importance of the manual work of all the people who have been part of the progress, proving the value of the hand in the age of technology.
project name: can lliro coffee-concert refurbishment
location: manacor, mallorca, spain
client: lliro family
design: aulets arquitectes + carles oliver
collaborator: joris meno
engineer: cubic consultoria
structure: alfons romero
built area: 2691 ft2 (250 m2)
photography: josé hevia