EDITION: June - August '09


Helen Howard

Diederik van Maren has lived in Ibiza for almost 3 years. He came here with his wife who runs an events company and 2 children. He is originally from Amsterdam where for the last 15 years he has been buying and developing houses. Whilst he enjoyed many aspects of this and built up a successful company, somehow it did not feed his soul. It is not what he was doing that was the problem but where and how he was doing it. Lifestyle wise, the weather in Amsterdam was no fun, and whilst he loved the buildings he created he did not want to spend 10 months of the year stuck inside one of them! In addition many of his clients wanted primarily functional buildings and he felt somewhat deprived of his creative raison d’etre. Whilst he acknowledges that we all need to make a living, for him design is “firstly my hobby and my passion”.

Diederik discovered Ibiza by coming here on holiday 25 years ago and immediately fell in love with it. For the last few years he has owned an apartment on the island and has visited whenever possible, becoming more and more excited by the beckoning possibilities of a new life here. Although he has experienced living in many other countries including London, the Caribbean, Israel and Lebanon, he has never found a place quite like Ibiza. Luckily his wife shared his passion, so much so that as soon as they were able the family took the plunge and made Ibiza their home.

Diederik still revels in the quality of light, the feeling of freedom, the weather and the international mix of people. He is also very happy to be surrounded by beaches – even though he may not go more than a dozen times in the summer, just knowing that he can makes a difference. “The strange thing is”, he said, “that although things here can take much longer to accomplish and I am working longer hours, it doesn’t feel like it. I am on a kind of permanent semi-holiday, doing what I love”.

So how has his work changed in Ibiza? At last he seems to have found a place where people want to buy exactly the kind of individualistic houses he enjoys designing. He is able to fully immerse himself in the creative process and also enjoys working as part of a dynamic duo with the architect, brainstorm-ing the vision and practicalities of application. As in Holland, he has his own building company, to carry out his specifications to the letter.

So, in the midst of all this “superstyle” what makes Diederik’s creations stand out from the crowd? Well, although like many architects in Ibiza he favours a minimalistic style, he does not like the feeling of soulessness that often accompanies such designs. When visitors come, he wants them to feel as if they never want to leave, so he endeavours to create an atmosphere of warmth and depth amidst the clean lines and air of simplicity.

He also likes to create a visual and psychological feeling of space. Even when the actual square metres are limited, he organises the structure in such a way that one gets long unbroken views within the building and it’s surround-ings. He also insists on very high quality materials to bring sub-stance and texture to his design.

In many ways it seems Diederik has succeeded in achieving the kind of “dream life” that many of us aspire to- but in case anyone should get a little envious, it should be pointed out that none of this was handed to him on a plate! In fact Diederik spent his childhood “on the street” – but it is amazing what can be achieved with abundant measures of inspiration, talent and hard work – and of course by following that age old mantra of “do what you love!”

Texto: Helen Howard