Photos of this reused monastery in Spain showed up on my Facebook feed today thanks to my old college roommate, John Crofoot. Actually the ruined structure was brought back to this condition, painstakingly reassembled and reinforced from 2007 - 2012 under the direction of architect Alberto Ballarín. The improved ruin then became a set piece for an adjacent contemporary building housing the headquarters of the firm Abbatte, whose showroom in nearby Madrid features its high end and highly refined fabrics.
Though a wall section of an adjacent structure was integrated into the new building, for the most part, the old and the new are completely separate. The ruins remain open to the elements, framing amazing views to the landscape and forming a unique enclosure within what once was a place of worship.
It seems entirely appropriate for Abbatte to use the old monastery as an inspiration as well as an iconic image in their promotional materials. The company is a mother - daughter partnership that focuses on hand-made artisan products made with all natural materials. Dyes are produced from plants grown around the old monastic grounds. In the short video produced for the website, the deliberateness of the weavers’ gestures is clearly meant to evoke the life of monks who once inhabited these grounds.
Whether the simple spirituality remains, or it’s just a case of great public relations, the effect is compelling. The architectural relationship, old and new, is beautifully designed. With these affecting images making their way around the internet, I’m certain many modern-day pilgrims will find their way to this special place in the near future.