VillaJardines is also for architecture lovers. It is a very good example of the evolution of a building throughout time. Being built in 1629, when was it updated to a 19th century taste?
In 1877 the Queen Isabella II awarded her Chamber Doctor Andrés del Busto with the title Marquis del Busto. Becoming a Marquis implied giving dinners and a dynamic social life. For this, in 1878, Andrés del Busto and his wife, Teresa de Gabiña, the new Marquises del Busto, decided to improve their home. They need to do many things in the building.
First, they had to embellish the public areas, basically the ground floor and the first floor. They also needed to enlarge the building facilities to host a laboratory and a scientific debate club in a new fourth floor. To continue, they decided to enhance the façade. For this, they asked the architect Agustín Ortiz Villajos to do the job.
On several occassions VillaJardines has been rented to film a movie or a commercial. In January 2007 Findus, a frozen food company, showed a new product with a massive TV strategy. In the commercial you can easily identify VillaJardines.
The center of Madrid seems to be the place to invest. The hotel world has taken over most of the neighborhood’s buildings and several new hotels will open in the next months. Madrid is being designed as the best product in the world for travelers. And it is happening very quickly.
The center of Madrid is rapidly changing its landscape. There are three big changes expected to happen in the neighborhood:
- The Gran Via shall be partly pedestrianized in order to become a friendlier space.
- The Gran Via metro station shall be enlarged and shall connect to the Sol Train Station.
- The center of Madrid shall concentrate 75% of the new luxury hotels.
Maybe what I find most relevant of all is the fact that the hotel world has put its eyes on the neighborhood. This area has become the center of huge hotel investments.
Seventeen new 4 and 5 star hotels are being under construction in Madrid. Out of thirteen new 5 star hotels under construction in Madrid, nine shall become new neighbors. That is 70% of the new 5 star hotels in Madrid. If that figure does not impress you, take into account that 100% of the 4 star hotels under construction shall also become our new neighbors.
The Marquis del Busto married Maria Teresa de Gabiña in 1865. He was one of Queen Isabella II’s personal doctors, officially her Chamber Doctor. He had his own horse charriots, three, and his own horses, also three. The animals lived in the building, in the ground level, until the last one died in 1900.
In 2013 horses came back into the building for an Israeli commercial shoot. I shot some images and made a little hommage to Maria Teresa de Gabiña, the Marchioness del Busto. She was born in 1818 in the building and died in 1901 in the building. She was an illustrated woman who was ahead of her time. This is to her.
One of the best secrets of VillaJardines is that since 2012 it has been hosting hundreds of meetings of citizens who promoted the sharing economy from different angles. Members of more than 20 Peer-to-Peer communities dealing with homesharing, carsharing, foodsharing, talent and time sharing have used VillaJardines as their meeting point. Ideas and projects were shared among strangers who shared values. Now, a museum showing historical pieces is on display in the building’s old stables.
Items from the origins of P2P communities in Madrid like Airbnb, Blablacar, TimeRepublik, Meetmeals, Peers, Yottotel, Thinkeers, FIDE, Greenpeace, Traity, Micocar, Ouishare, Sharing España, Bluemove, Quiero, etc are on display in boxes in the building’s old stables (2018)
The sharing economy was the future in 2013. Five years later, in 2018, it is already the past. It is funny how things evolve so quickly now. What was a real novelty a few months ago “for the future” is now widely understood by basically everyone. That is the case with the sharing economy. Pioneer Peer-to-Peer platforms like Airbnb or Blablacar were almost unknown five years ago and now they are totally mainstream.