The 'X' and 'Mi Gente' singer owns two properties in Colombia — a loft in the city, and a massive, Japanese-inspired country house

By Hannah Chubb
July 01, 2020 06:57 PM
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Anita Calero

When he’s not in New York, music superstar J Balvin (nee José Álvaro Osorio Balvin) lives in his native Colombia, splitting his time between a loft in the city of Medellín, and a retreat in the mountains of Llanogrande, just 30 minutes away. 

The “Machika” singer, 35, recently opened up the two homes in a cover story for Architectural Digest’s July/August issue, proving that despite his bold style choices — including hair that has been every color of the rainbow — the hitmaker prefers a minimalist feel in home design.  

“Architecture, music, fashion — they’re all forms of expression," Balvin explains to the publication of the two properties, both designed by Medellín-based firm 5 Sólidos. "When it comes to the places I live, I definitely take a less-is-more approach. A house should be a place where you can rest your spirit. I’ve tried to create places that feed my soul, not my ego.”

Anita Calero

In his Medellín apartment — which Balvin describes as one giant “man cave” — high ceilings, concrete floors and a muted color palette give the space an industrial feel, allowing his art collection to shine. Paintings and sculptures by artists like KAWS, WhIsBe, Josh Sperling, and Takashi Murakami splash color in an otherwise spare space, and give structure to the open floor plan. (There is only one door in the loft — to the bathroom). 

A garage-style door leads out to the apartment’s private pool, where Balvin likes to kick back. He describes the urban sanctuary as “a place where I can vibe with art and architecture, the things I love.” 

Anita Calero

His country retreat in Llanogrande, on the other hand, is similarly artful, but is more family-focused. Balvin says that the home's design was influenced by Japan because he loves the energy of the country. 

The majority of the expansive, one-level property — which is surrounded by lush jungle — is designed with black and oak wood features. Bonsai trees can be found both inside and outside the home. 

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In a video tour, Balvin shares that despite having an exquisite main suite — which is connected to a walk-in closet full of approximately 850 pairs of sneakers — he never actually sleeps in his bedroom. “I like to sleep around the different rooms… I don’t like to get bored of my own places,” he says.  

The bedroom, like many of the rooms in the house, has a glass door that leads outside, allowing Balvin to take in his natural surroundings, with ample greenery providing plenty of privacy. He says he likes to sit outside and meditate, drink tea and think — often by the swimming pool, which runs down into a reflecting pool surrounded by areas to dine and lounge al fresco. 

Eventually, he plans to turn the property into a massive compound, building cottages around the main house.  

Anita Calero

Balvin says he designed the home with hosting friends and family in mind, but that the space has also been a peaceful place to quarantine during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“I really enjoy that it is a place where, basically, I’m living now,” he says in the video. “Now that quarantine has started for like three months now, I’m really happy that I created the place that I wanted. It’s not a place to show off, it’s a place for my soul to rest.”

Read the full feature and see more photos in the July/August issue of Architectural Digest or on archdigest.com.