Kitchens designed by Santos, as seen by photographer Héctor Santos-Díez
04 / 09 / 2020
For more than 15 years now, Héctor Santos-Díez has been photographing architecture and interior design projects for homes—both new build and renovated—, many of them fitted with kitchens designed by Santos. In this article, the photographer chooses seven of these works and consolidates them into one image, which he accompanies with notes about the session.
Héctor Santos-Díez: a scrupulously curated image
Santos-Díez is a photographer from Galicia born in Madrid who has been practising the art of photography since preadolescence. His early exposure to both photography and architecture is due to his father, an architect. He was the one who taught him the basics of photography, guiding him while he practised in the small darkroom that he set up at home. That was where it all started—first by developing the negatives of photos taken by his father and later on, his own works.
During those early days, when the Internet wasn’t around yet, he decided to read all the available literature on photography techniques, devouring everything he could get his hands on. Coinciding with his going to the university, where he began taking up studies in Architecture, he joined the Ollo de Vidro photography group. He learned many valuable lessons from photographers of the likes of Jorge Barreiro, Manolo Lemos, Pilar Alaez, Nando Mauriz and Eduardo Castro Bal. There, he also taught introduction to photography and photography composition, an activity that prompted him to explore his own work in depth, while seeking to understand his own reasons in order to convey them to his students properly.
His training shaped his photographic style, which shows a particular flair for creating images, composition, light and perspective. Héctor Santos-Díez shows an analytical view in his works, where each shot takes on utmost importance in portraying the space included in it.
Casa Chao, by Creus e Carrasco
Casa Chao, designed by the architectural studio Creus e Carrasco, stands out for the solution they came up with for a plot measuring barely 3 metres wide, considering not only the richness of the interior space but also shaping the urban space where it is found. This is why the project was awarded the Architecture Award of Galicia, the Juana de Vega Award and the 13th Spanish Architecture Biennial Award, aside from being nominated to the Mies van der Rohe and FAD competitions.
Eirís House, by 2es+
At the Eirís House, designed by 2es+ Oficina de Arquitectura, the kitchen is located on a level that is slightly higher than that of the living room. This draws more attention to it, including from a perspective some distance away such as the one shown in the image. The photograph was taken at sunset, from the best vantage point to appreciate the geometric shapes intended by the architects.
Casa Oliveira, by Castroferro Arquitectos
Even in the most overwhelming scenes, loaded with a large number of environmental elements, it is possible to use some easy tricks that help focus attention and achieve the required depth. This is the case for the person in the background of the image, in the Santos kitchen. This photograph of Casa Oliveira, designed by Castroferro Arquitectos, brings to the fore the great care this studio takes with each session, organising every last detail and putting forth ideas to get optimal results.
Casa Rosende, by Castroferro Arquitectos
On some occasions, the huge effort involved in organising and setting the stage may go unnoticed, although it always forms part of the image and is a determining factor in its outcome. The photograph of this nearly empty home, also designed by Castroferro Arquitectos, reveals a complex geometry that is hard to capture, in which the Santos kitchen plays an important role in organising and segregating spaces.
Choupana 2.0, by 2es+
Choupana 2.0, a home designed by 2es+ Oficina de Arquitectura, is characterised by its play with levels and spatial uniqueness, comprised of sheet metal work, concrete and architectural lighting. Here, the keys were finding the right perspective to showcase the cross-sectional area—the driving force behind large part of the project—and including a person that would bring the shot to life and round off the composition.
Casa América, by Castroferro Arquitectos
The kitchen by itself could also be enough to create an interesting image, not necessarily focused on documenting its relationship with other indoor or outdoor areas of the house. In this photograph, taken at a home designed by Castroferro Arquitectos, the image narrows to put the spotlight on the finishes, textures, shapes and lights.
Casa Escribenta, by Rodríguez Blanco Arquitectos
This photograph of Casa Escribenta, designed by Rodríguez Blanco Arquitectos, is part of an article made with the home already occupied, while attempting to interfere as little as possible with how the owners have made the space their own. The image depicts the everyday reality of the kitchen, but also the complexity created by the architect, using overlap perspectives of the courtyards and windows that afford views of the sky.
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