Return to site home page


Modern Flare on the Mediterranean

Designer Patricia Urquiola takes an avant-garde approach to the interiors of a new hotel in one of the world's design capitals -- Barcelona.

Photography by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group


Designer Patricia Urquiola takes an avant-garde approach to the interiors of a new hotel in one of the world's design capitals -- Barcelona.

With its exceptional blend of the traditional and innovative, Barcelona has become a hub for Spanish design and a favorite destination for savvy travelers of all ages. The new Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Barcelona, reflects the vibrancy of this avant-garde city, which every year welcomes millions of visitors attracted by its architecture, cuisine, fashion-forward boutiques, unique art, and splendid Mediterranean climate.

In keeping with Mandarin Oriental’s passion for working with creative and exciting design concepts, the prestigious Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola of Studio Urquiola was commissioned to create the interior décor of Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona. The project reflects the open, cosmopolitan character of the great Mediterranean city where the hotel stands, along with the unmistakable seal of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. The linear simplicity of the building, which was once the head offices of a bank, lends itself perfectly to the clean, balanced interior design by Urquiola.

An impressive atrium ramp draws passers-by from the busy central Passeig de Gràcia to the entrance hall of the hotel from where guests can view the light filled Blanc restaurant and lounge below.

The spatial layout and furniture design, the ceiling decorations and the beautiful hand-woven carpets, reminiscent of the charm and distinction of great classical hotels, have all been carefully chosen by Urquiola. From the Scandinavian style armchairs in Moments restaurant, to the lobby sofa, which has been adapted from a traditional Chesterfield; from the tartan carpet, reminiscent of the Gentleman’s Clubs of bygone days which adorns the Banker’s bar floor, to the fully restored early 20th century French ironing table which serves as a centerpiece to Blanc—each piece has been meticulously chosen or designed to give every venue its own character.

Light is filtered in from the atrium through large skylights positioned over Blanc, which is located on the lower floor, in the heart of the building. Possibly the most spectacular design element in the hotel is an enormous, rectangular, metallic grid which is suspended over the restaurant tables, allowing for greater privacy. Above this structure, a surprising “hanging garden” effect has been created by the addition of a number of plants.

The hotel’s 98 rooms sparkle in shades of cream and white, while ultramodern furniture sits well alongside oriental details, such as large wall screens and wardrobes inspired by traditional lacquered Chinese boxes. Light oak floors and large bespoke beige rugs add warmth while the bathrooms, complete with oversized walk-in showers, are adorned with mosaics by Mutina and Bisazza.

A minimalist aesthetic is evident throughout the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona. Dark wood detailing, black ceilings, white floors, and the organic look of wet stone are predominant. Metallic curtains lead guests to each of the eight spacious and comfortable treatment rooms, where sophisticated period appliqués contrast with the overall simplicity of the space.