There aren’t many people with enough wealth and devotion to soccer to commission an extravagant mansion in the shape of a soccer ball. But Luis de Garrido, a celebrated Spanish architect, bet that if he designed such a property to be built in Barcelona, one famed soccer player was sure to bite: Lionel Messi.
Garrido—a Spanish celebrity in his own right—has designed buildings for stars including supermodel Naomi Campbell, published over a dozen books, and taught sustainable architecture as a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2003. Messi is of course the Argentine footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and is viewed by many as the best soccer player in the world.
The house, which is designed to sit smack in the center of a soccer-field-shaped rectangular plot, was clearly envisioned with Messi in mind; it features a reference to Messi’s soccer jersey number, 10, which is etched into the middle of the ball-cum-house in the plans. (Garrido has released designs, but the building itself hasn’t yet been built.)
It remains unclear whether Messi himself is in on the plans. Several Spanish media outlets (links in Spanish here, here and here) have reported that Messi approved plans to build the house after Garrido approached him with the idea.
But according to another Spanish newspaper, El Economista, Messi’s lawyer says no such agreement has been reached. Messi’s lawyer, Cristóbal Martell, hasn’t responded to our request for comment. (It’s worth noting that Messi has been bogged down by other pressing financial matters; He’s embroiled in a messy tax evasion scandal for allegedly dodging $5 million in taxes owed to the Spanish government.)
In this interview by Colombian design news site Metro Cuadrado with Garrido (below), the architect says he pitched the idea to Messi and explains the design and how Messi served as his inspiration.
If ever built, the home would be a luxurious homage to soccer. From above, the glass roof is divided into sections that would resemble the split quadrants of a soccer ball. One side of the rectangular plot would be covered in grass and split by a small walkway, while the opposite end would be made almost entirely of water.
Garrido says the design fits his values of environmental friendliness and ecological health.
Here’s a peek at what it would look like: