The pink rose—or rosa in Spanish—provides the central theme of architect Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco’s The Real Estate House, which is the star of this new film from Barcelona-based director Joana Colomar. Blanco’s unconventional design considers the architectural legacy of the Spanish real estate bubble, which burst almost exactly a decade ago. Also known as the ‘boom’ house, the refurbished property is located in Cardedeu, a suburban village located 45 km from the centre of Barcelona.
During the 1990s the area experienced heavy suburban development, followed—after the 2008 crash—by much of this industry grinding to a halt. The Real Estate House was, before Blanco’s recent refurbishment of the property, a paradigm of bubble-era aesthetics: where its central stairway was located inside a crowned tower with lancet windows, while also featuring pre-fabricated Doric columns that supported its gaudy verandah. Blanco has elsewhere described the ‘imaginaries of opulence’ that influenced the house’s original construction; cheap, fast, yet pointing toward a desirable, near fantastical, luxury. Blanco’s refurbishment weaves together tradition and modernity, alongside notions of high and low technology—attempting to make sense of the fantasies (economic and architectural) that fuelled its original design.
Colomar’s film explores “the dichotomies that configure daily life in the house,” as she explains, and the irregularly regular ways we use domestic space. The film, which liltingly scours the spaces and elements of Blanco’s design, refers explicitly to the central stairwell which has been turned into a pink (rosa) space, connecting with the daily routine of Maria Lluïsa (the owner of the house) who trims a rose from her garden as a religious offering each and every morning. And in this way, while the house represents a symbol of economic shock, it also points toward the possibility of re-growth.