Ibiza Style

by Ingrid Rasmussen and Chloe Grimshaw

Published by Merrell

288 pages, 2007






Where’s Pete Tong?

Reviewed by Aaron Blanton


Ibiza. Even the word has magic. One thinks of the rediscovery of sex in the 70s, of nightclubs that open at dawn; of a night life and a daytime so tightly integrated, one can’t see where the one ends and the other begins.

Ibiza. One thinks of royal high-jinks and celebrities avoiding the pesky paparazzi and people so beautiful, when the rest of us look at them, it hurts the eyes.

Ibiza. One does not think of polished estates, cutting edge architecture or internationally enviable interior design. One just does not. Oh, we might suspect the estates are there -- all that royalty, all those celebrities, plus the busloads of beautiful people clubbing all night, tend to have a fair amount of dosh. Hence -- you know -- gorgeous houses. It does stand to reason, after all. What doesn’t necessarily follow is that we’d have access to them. But photographer Ingrid Rasmussen and writer Chloe Grimshaw have used the considerable skills of their joint talent to ferret them out and collect them in a stunning new book, Ibiza Style.

It took us a year to find the most beautiful fincas and the most glamorous villas in Ibiza. We explored every part of the island, driving down endless dirt tracks (caminos), through acres of pine forests and up steep cliffs, to discover the definitive Ibiza style.

You almost want to feel sorry for them, don’t you? This brace of glamourous goddesses, sweat dripping off their delicate brows, while they make sacrifice after sacrifice so that we might benefit from the fruits of their toils! Combing every part of Ibiza to find that life beyond "Amnesia, Pacha and Manumisson, the clubs that made Ibiza infamous in the 1990s," and to "unearth the stylish homes and exclusive hideaway hotels, known only to locals and the discerning traveller."

If that was their goal, then Rasmussen and Grimshaw have succeeded brilliantly. I may be completely under their spell -- and though I detest a rave as much as a rant -- I simply can’t imagine the person who would not enjoy spending time with Ibiza Style, it so fulfils at every level.

Those with a curiosity about Ibiza -- the would-be armchair traveler, for instance, or the reader who thinks they might like to journey there at some point themselves -- will enjoy the book for Rasmussen and Grimshaw's casual insider glimpse. This is, after all, no one’s idea of a travel guide. However, brilliant color photos and well-crafted text give us a very solid look into how Ibiza lives now.

Readers with a passion for architecture and design will equally enjoy Ibiza Style. From funky little traditional fincas to ultra modern mansions, as well as some skillful designs that include both, Rasmussen and Grimshaw’s book looks at them all in-depth. The authors inform us that these cunning blends of old and new are based on need:

Today, unless there is an existing building on the proposed site, it is almost impossible to build a new house in Ibiza’s countryside, owing to strict planning regulations. For this reason, many of the modern villas have been constructed around crumbling old fincas. Architects have had to become highly inventive...

With over 500 color photographs on just under 300 pages showcasing 30 Ibizan homes and hotels, Ibiza Style is an impressive production, capable of anchoring the most elegant of coffee tables. It’s a lovely and worthwhile book; the best in its class. Ibiza Style offers inspiration for those of us designing homes in less exotic locals, while offering a window onto a lifestyle worth dreaming about. | May 2007


Aaron Blanton is an expatriate Kentuckian writer and musician living outside of the United States.