For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the origins of Stories Studio, just over 18 months ago, we started a new chapter on a Balearic Island that was set to flip our world on its head. A blind leap of faith, notices handed in, ample amount of tears, and one hell of an apartment search later, we found ourselves living within castle walls in a world heritage site, perched at the top of a hill, on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
For decades Ibiza has been a magnetic hub for artists and creatives from around the world. Aware of the island’s reputation as a place of beautiful mysteries, energy and birthplace for creativity, it seemed the perfect place to start our new adventure. And whilst we left barefoot bohemian life behind just over a year ago now, for a stronger wifi connection and a slightly more reliable postage service (essential factors in growing a design agency, it would seem) our lives were never really the same again. That little island will forever be a part of us, the stories we go on to tell and is a constant reminder to always leave some room in our hearts for the unimaginable.
Our Ibizan apartment, which had a rooftop overlooking the old town below, was located within the 16th-century Renaissance city walls, positioned down a cobbled white-washed alleyway in the heart of the medieval quarter. We entered and left our home via a drawbridge known as la Puerta del Mar (The Gate of the Sea) through a tunnel of stone arches which glowed with warmth at dusk.
In the evenings, we often sat perched at the very top of the castle, drinking wine next to cannons, staring out to sea. Somewhere in between these glasses of wine and take away pizza (a lot of pizza, a lot of wine) were the conversations that would pave the way for our next move. Stories Studio was born.
Our fascination for this blue planet of ours deepened, and subsequently, our ability to capture it improved.
“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
— Ralph Hattersley
The documentation of our adventures became an increasing source of enjoyment for us. We spent our weekends making use of the white beaches and coves of the north, driving to secluded bays & mastering the art of picnicking. We’d return with wild-hair, sun-kissed skin, beach bags full of sand, camera’s full of moments frozen in time, and an eagerness to see what we had captured.
We dedicated our last months soaking up every ounce of island life by catching the sunrise across the crystal clear shallow waters and taking siestas on the warm sand after a bottle (or two) of rosé. We left the island with a completely new perspective on not only life but what we were going to do with ours.
“The south is a heady, visceral playground of beautiful beaches, sugar-cube villages, and extraordinary sunsets”
“The north is the land of olive groves, ancient churches, and sheer cliffs plunging down to inky horseshoe calas. … Everywhere is the light: the high, bright, colourless light whose extraordinary quality is known the world over, whose unearthly clarity has seduced writers and painters for Aeons.”
― Maya Bond
‘You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.’
― Elizabeth Gilbert.
Although we felt like the summer would never end, the days got shorter, the restaurants emptied and the beaches required knitwear. As bittersweet as it was to pack up our things and leave the island, we knew we would be back. What we didn’t know at the time though, was that it would be exactly 12 months later, with a team of 7, celebrating the launch of something that had started way before we even knew it, back in 2018, when we had first stepped foot on the island.
We’re not quite sure how we settled on the idea of Barcelona, (patatas bravas may or may not have been a deciding factor) but it was unanimous none the less. We moved within the week to an apartment we found online. Phase two of our mission was in full force – and having access to every tool we needed to establish Stories as a design agency made us more determined than ever before.
Our depth of discovery in Ibiza made us realise how we were only just scratching the surface of what was out there. It became clear to us that sometimes the only way to learn, is to do. If you want to learn about food and wine, then you have to eat and drink. If you want to learn how to take photos you have to take them. If you want to learn how to have a business, you have to run one. And that became our philosophy.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
And whilst managing a hectic travel schedule and simultaneously growing a design agency is not the most straight forward of tasks, what we quickly discovered was that the more curious you are about the world, the more you experience and learn, and in turn, the more connections you are able to make. Supporting evidence suggests, foreign experiences not only increases cognitive flexibility but also add depth and integrativeness of thought. Something we very much came to understand.
Throughout our journies, photography became the stories that we failed to put into words and so, without us knowing, Travel Stories was being set in motion.
We hope to inspire the curiosity and implore you to explore the magic that lies in all the corners of the world through an intimately curated collection of city guides and locations we have enjoyed, experienced and captured first hand, that unanimously stand for beauty, creativity and sophistication. We’ve created this online world as a place of reference, so wherever you are in the world, we can be your travel companion.