I have to admit that I have not travelled all that much in my life. My first trip was to New York City in 2012 as a photography student, where I organized small exhibitions of my own and friend’s projects at my place. This experience in New York proved so stimulating that, after months dealing with fear of the new and the unknown, I decided to allocate the spare room I had at home to accommodating travellers in my hometown, Córdoba. The meeting space I dreamed of would welcome visitors who’d leave their mark on it.
Through couchsurfing I met Taru, a student from Helsinki who was about to do an internship of two months and needed a place to live, so came to my house. I shared with her the idea of the project I’d been mulling over with her, and this awakened a strong desire to see it through. I began to search for places to rent and she was my search companion. My encounter with Taru marked a turning point into my life and explains the origin of the name I decided to give this space.
Where I am now is the only home we visited. It had been uninhabited for over a year and I knew that it would be the one to give shelter to the project. From one day to the next, I found myself alone with a large, empty space to full and a lot of work to do. After 12 years of office work, I was given the possibility to devote myself, passionately and entirely, to my own project.
Years studying architecture and design provided me with the tools to launch into the planning of the space by myself. The purity of minimalism, the elegance of Nordic design, and being drawn to places with remnants of an industrial past, inspired a style that did not emerge from a predefined project, but rather developed in a slow and continuous process of experiencing the space until it became what it is today: a place for sharing, which still preserves the privacy of each guest.
The house is a living evolution that has not yet finalized. Each corner creates new things to do on a daily basis, a kind of game that challenges my creativity. I have restored and made the furniture that adorns the rooms, and most of that which inhabits the rest of the house. The use of reclaimed wood and recycled furniture give it a warm and very personal feel. Each guest has attested to the fact that the original idea of creating a calm atmosphere, that invites you to relax and unwind, has been carried out successfully. One of my greatest satisfactions while carrying out this work is that the visitors perceive the love that has gone into every detail, as many have expressed when passing through.
Receiving travellers every day from different parts of the world still remains a challenge. In less than a week I have lived with people from Russia, Canada, France and Switzerland, and in just over a year I have hosted more than 150 visitors of different nationalities. Creating a network of people from around the planet is a stimulating experience, and Airbnb is the ideal platform for this. What may represent fear for many, such as giving the key to my home to a stranger, for me opens the door to a universe of infinite possibilities.
Over time, I have realized that each person with whom we interact, confronts us with a different aspect of who we are. It’s like a re ex that becomes an interesting exercise in self-knowledge, in which some fears and prejudices come to light. Opening your home to strangers means opening yourself. Learning to listen to the stories of others, but also to tell yours, to recognize other people’s boundaries and to establish your own. It is a constant practice of adaptation in which cultural differences, especially language, are no longer a barrier to communication if we are willing to put our hearts and minds into it.
Encounters often take place around a table: a symbol of meeting and communion throughout the history of humanity and its culture. The kitchen is that intimate space where differences fade. Thus, I began a series of dinners in the courtyard of the house in order to generate a coming together of travellers and locals. The most valuable thing each guest takes with them is a memory that endures over time and becomes a part of their history, however small it may be. This sum of memories is ultimately what this place wants to talk about.