A winding path weaves through the native undergrowth, twisting and turning as though in search of water. Cantilevered hardwood shutters, linear and perpendicular, throw angular shade onto low-slung, ice-white walls. Fiery-petalled birds of paradise sway softly in the borders. In the sweltering summer heat, Can Baloo owes more than a nod to tropical modernism.
Hidden in a verdant valley south of San Jose, this luxuriant five-bedroom home hums to the rhythm of nature. In a supremely privileged position two kilometres back from the sea, nothing lies between the house and the Mediterranean but endless acres of virgin forest. No roads, no buildings, no access whatsoever – just Ibiza’s answer to an impenetrable jungle. This sense of being adrift in the forest defines the narrative of Can Baloo. Hovering above the tree canopy, the house has a verdant vernacular that’s punctuated throughout by tarnished ochre pillars. These columns – totems, if you will – play out like a symphony across the property, clustered together in musical notes – two, four, six – before dropping away to silence. A rich, earthy red, they reflect the colour of Ibiza’s mineral-rich soil, a weathered steel leitmotif merging seamlessly with the trunks of date palms. This interplay of the man-made and the organic is an emblem of Can Baloo, exemplified by the white steel structure that clads the property’s façade. At once robust yet lightweight, this calcified exoskeleton is a Romano signature, used to create a vast outer realm that all but mirrors the size of the space within. Entirely overgrown with dense begonia, the structure takes on a language of opposing features – strength and weightlessness, sunlight and shade, industry and nature. The underside of the structure becomes a kind of living gallery, adorned with a fluid, woven installation that recalls the traditional fishing nets of the Balearics. Basketry and hanging chairs, hand-woven and rough to the touch, are redolent of suspended beehives or wild birds’ nests. Tempered by the bright, white steel, theirs is a poetry of paradoxes.