Juan Salvador Shvartzberg, architecture can be timeless

Pia Arrieta
Pia Arrieta DM Properties
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In this detailed profile, part of Inside Marbella Luxury series by DM Properties - Knight Frank in Marbella, we explore the life and influential career of Juan Salvador Shvartzberg, a leading figure in Marbella's luxury residential architecture. From his design philosophy to his impact on Marbella's architectural evolution and an exclusive look at one of his iconic projects, this profile offers a comprehensive insight into Shvartzberg's contributions to the field.

Luxury Villa in Marbella by Juan Salvador Shvartzberg

Who is Juan Salvador Shvartzberg?

Juan Salvador Shvartzberg is a name that has become synonymous with luxury residential architecture in Marbella. With a career spanning 47 years, he has carved a niche for himself in the world of high-end architecture. Initially working in various architecture studios in Barcelona, he moved to Marbella in 1980. In 1992, he established his own studio, Juan Salvador Shvartzberg Architecture, and has since been a force to be reckoned with in Marbella's architectural landscape.

What Defines Juan Salvador Shvartzberg's Vision of Luxury Architecture?

Shvartzberg's design philosophy is deeply rooted in harmony and context. He believes that luxury architecture is not just about high budgets and quality materials but also about creating fluid and dynamic spaces that maintain a peaceful dialogue with their surroundings. His designs often feature large windows, rooms with great volume, quality doors, large-format stone or marble flooring, and imaginative, light-filled bathrooms.

I prefer to steer clear of vaunting design where the house screams, 'I am here,' but rather prefer that my design maintains a peaceful dialogue with its setting. - JS Shvartzberg

An Impression from Diana Morales about Juan Salvador Shvartzberg

Diana Morales, founder of DM Properties, defines “Juan Salvador Shvartzberg has become well known in the Marbella area for his ability to blend classic and modern elements, his commitment to the environment, and his focus on luxury and quality which set him apart in the industry. His designs are not just structures but homes that resonate with elegance, comfort, and a timeless sense of place. Having been here for decades, we see all sorts of architecture and trends in Marbella, but we consistently find that Juan’s creations endure the passing of time. Whether it is a classical home or a more contemporary design, years later, his homes show good architecture can be timeless.”

Shvartzberg’s impact on the evolution of Marbella architecture and future Insights

Pioneering work in La Zagaleta

Juan Salvador Shvartzberg has been a key player in the evolution of Marbella's architecture, especially in the prestigious urbanisation of La Zagaleta. The architect’s work in La Zagaleta since 1994 is particularly noteworthy, having designed over 40 high-end luxury villas in this prestigious urbanisation in Benahavis, close to Marbella.

Juan Salvador Shvartzberg, architecture can be timeless

Classical mediterranean architecture galore

His style is renowned for its blend of traditional and modern elements but over the years he has seen the shift from classical Mediterranean designs to modern aesthetics influenced by Northern European clients.

He explains, "Between 1994 and 2010, homes had a more classical design, reflecting the Mediterranean style, with tiled roofs, patios, porches, and the presence of columns and pillars that emphasised this local character. In these years, luxury homes were typified by the use of elements such as stone, quality terracotta, even the inclusion of recycled materials, large spaces, traditional room layouts, with predominantly the use of materials with an old appearance and with emphasis on the main bathroom.”

The modern turn

Around 2010,Shvartzberg designs began to shift towards a more modern concept, influenced by Northern European clients. But what sets his approach apart is his belief in a symbiotic dialogue between the new edifice and the environment, seeing the traditional tiled roofs as a fundamental unifying element.

Luxury villa in Marbella, Juan Salvador Shvartzberg

The architect states “The influence of Northern European clients ushered in a more modern aesthetic in homes. Within this modern idea, one can discern two distinct trends. One trend demonstrates a certain commitment to the historical and cultural context of the location, while the other trend completely detaches from the birthplace of the design, resulting in homes that are untethered to any location. Indeed, these houses could seemingly be placed anywhere, lacking any connection or anchor to their surroundings.”

Future outlook and concerns

Looking towards the future, Shvartzberg anticipates a continued evolution in luxury design. Although he sees a trend towards homes that are without cultural context, he maintains his commitment to designs that respect their environment in all respects.

Additionally in light of the rise of branded residences in the Marbella, Shvartzberg voices his concern about the role of the architect and his values in such projects.

Shvartzberg on branded residences in Marbella

The architect explains it as follows “The brand sees itself as the central and essential element. Architects, in turn, are overshadowed by this notion, becoming just another cog in the marketing wheel. Instead of appearing as the architects of the creations, they become mere anonymous components of a commercial machine.

Luxury architecture, villa in Marbella

Who knows who the architect behind Armani, Hermès or Ferrari is? Luxury brands have eclipsed the figure of the architect. It no longer matters who the creator of the building is, but that the brand name is synonymous with luxury and exclusivity. Ultimately, it is essential to ask whether this transformation has truly enriched the experience of architecture or whether it has lost its artistic and cultural function. Perhaps it is time to reflect on how to recover the intrinsic value of Architecture and its capacity to represent luxury without relying exclusively on brands and consumerism.”

Juan Salvador Shvartzberg: Data facts

    • Name: Juan Salvador Shvartzberg
    • Origin: Buenos Aires, Argentina
    • LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/juan-salvador-shvartzberg
    • Professional memberships: College of Architects of Spain, Board of Directors of DOM3
    • Architecture Studio: Juan Salvador Shvartzberg Architecture
    • Address: Avda Cánovas del 4, 1ero Derecho, oficina 2. Marbella 29601, Malaga, Spain
    • Year founded: 1992
    • Website: jssarchitect.com
    • Email: info@jsarchitect.com
    • Contact number: +34 952 81 55 85
    • Specialisation: Residential and commercial
    • Location of projects carried out: Marbella, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan

Pia Arrieta, 16 Jan 2024 - The Professional Series - Inside Marbella Luxury

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