There is a very simple question that is posed to the new owner of any place, which is deceptively complex to answer: what is it that you want this, your portion of the earth, to become?
In truth, no place has ‘an owner’ as such. It belongs to itself, entirely in its own right – and to few places does that truth apply more aptly than at Las Heras. Rather, any incumbent proprietor should see themselves foremost in the role of protector, a sort of a guardian in place to protect against malign or un-doing influences. That protector, for the present, is I.
For this place, replete with its infinite beauty and secrets, already knows what it is. We just have to listen and ensure that, in tune with the land itself, we do not become distracted by undue thoughts of the future; for Las Heras, expectation and anticipation are alien concepts. For Las Heras, what is real is one ‘now’ after
But a place is not made up of its land alone; one of the many wonders of life is its people, and here at Las Heras there has been a continuing line of such visitors and inhabitants who have left an indelible imprint. Next in that lineage comes Will Alsop, a great listener and a man who hears places. In this book, he presents to you the ‘now’ he perceived on this soil. He was assisted in the task by Borja Goyarrola, whose care and passion breathe life and beauty into these pages. In turn, none of us would have got very far without the efforts of Anna D, who compiled and researched all the information that has gone into this effort. Also due a hearty thank you is JJ Caballero, whose insightful rendition of the history of the place and the Las Heras family was as invaluable as it was fascinating. And present throughout everything was Manuel M, whose tireless dedication to the architectural work and sympathetic and natural human relationship management of all involved made everything run without hitch.
Together, they made this story book, whose narrative was dictated to them by Las Heras and which they now pass to you, the reader, that you might sense what this place is.
I thank them for their work.
I would also like to express my deep gratitude to the members of the Las Heras family (above all, Maria Asunción de las Heras) who have been guardians of this extraordinary place since time immemorial.
Thank you too to Carlos, who protects my own and my family’s affairs. And thank you also to all of you who became hooked in mysterious ways to the magic of Las Heras; Quim, Jordi Gironès Pasolas and Jaume Frigola.
And thank you to the stonemason, Juan B and his able team who, together, continue to uncover hidden meanings from this land with their strong muscles and seeing eyes. Thank you to José María, the man of the mountain, of the trees and of the fields.
I hope that with this book, you will get an idea what Las Heras is and what adventures might be in store for you when you reach it.
Rough Luxe, a look at hospitality