BAHIA RESIDENCE
or
Harmonizing the nature of an artsy couple of academics

Dear Reader, your wildest guess wont nail it.

Appearances are deceiving and we embrace that. We do unexpected. Because we are good at finding out what’s special about you. In this case our foremost brief was :“I hate boring! Entertain me and make it colorful.” It became the guiding force behind the design of the Felix’s (felix, lat. for happy) townhouse, turning Casa Felix into a fun and irreverent retreat and extension of the personality and soul of its owner.

Can a home make you experience more joy in life?

Architectural projects are made of many layers, the most important being your necessities: Like most people, our client had never had a home that truly reflected who he was. How to create a home, as eccentric as him, to show the joy he carries inside which he wished to be surrounded with visually and energetically?

Architecturally, the original home had no historic value, hence restoring it to look like ‘old’ was an ethical mistake. How could we make a contemporary tribute to Panamanian culture through a respectful reconstruction without using sentimental colonial decoration losing elegance and offending the local cultural heritage by it?

Discover below how every design decision we made for this home reflects our clients existing joyful nature while simultaneously reinforcing his neuronal connections through neuroscientific design decisions for his brain to feel even more joy. Or jump to the final project pictures here.

The Story

Being oneself in midst the mass

A charming neighborhood in the heart of Panama City, Casco Viejo was heavily developed in the past decade, becoming the home and workspace for many locals and expatriates. Most buildings, whether of historic architectural value or not, have been remodeled to fit the colonial theme.

he facade needed to reflect our clients’ joy and stand out without creating dissonance with the surrounding buildings.

Harmony is paramount for a happy life and healthy body. Harmony is what we were going to achieve for all parties.

We were obligated by law to keep the existing facade. Knowing how our powerful subconscious needs to be fed positive messaging, it was clear the facade needed to reflect our clients’ joy and stand out without creating dissonance with the surrounding buildings. Harmony is paramount for a happy life and healthy body. Harmony is what we were going to achieve for all parties.


Respecting the local culture

For this project, integrating the local culture needed to happen on several planes. The home, even though small, could be of support to the social development of the area by offering a commercial space on its ground floor. Internally, we moved the former patio to the center of the home, recreating the traditional floor plan of a colonial house while at the same time bringing light to the ground floor from the roof.

 

The financial aspect of a project is just as important as the rest, hence the small commercial space on the ground floor needed to allow to attract visitors. The yellow flooring reflected onto the white walls and along with the main door enticed the human natural discovery instinct—like a flower to a bee. When the main door is open, visitors are naturally attracted.

The yellow floor color which we employed for the flooring enticed people’s natural discovery instinct and, when the main door was left open, naturally attracted visitors.

Celebrating Panama and the genius loci

Constructively speaking, this house had no historic value as it had been roughly remodeled in the 1930ies. How could we hint to its heritage without using fake hand painted Chinese tiles to convey an image of colonialism? A modern interpretation of Panama’s culture was the solution to respecting and celebrating the genius loci. We invited painters and writers to lend their artwork and create a contemporary tribute to Panama, which we love.

With Olga Sinclair, one of Panama’s most famous painters, we were given the right inspiration to create three color schemes for every room which would seemlessly also work amongst themselves with the flooring colors of the home.

Delicate acrylic letter with Panamanian poems were installed on the walls of the internal patio, gently reminding its owner of subtle philosophy of life.


Panama has a history in hand painted ceramic – however not a contemporary one. We incorporated hand painted sinks as a gentle reminder to its heritage.

Sustainability and Swissness

We can’t help it but be true to what we believe in – and that included going the extra mile making the house energy efficient according to Swiss norms. Being fully thermally insulated, this home consumes less than half the energy of its neighbors and at the same time offers a soothing environment thanks to its soundproof windows.

Casa Felix – originally built around 1930. Rebuilt 2017. Casa Felix is Casco Viejo’s first sustainable home according to Swiss norms. Its technologic solution and design, along with the incredible presence of the visionary painter Olga Sinclair and the powerful words of the Panamenian literature, are a legacy to panama its art and beauty.

Awards

2018 The International Property Awards, London

BioHarmonized as former Sara Battelli & Co. was awarded

Best Residential Interior Design, Panama

Best Residential Interior Central & Latin America