Esment Foundation
- By
Blaire Dessent
Esment Foundation
May 6, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
Esment Foundation
May 6, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
A visionary foundation rooted in the idea that everyone deserves to enjoy a good life
Esment Foundation
- By
Blaire Dessent
Esment Foundation
- By
Blaire Dessent
Esment Foundation
- By
Blaire Dessent
I

n 1962, a group of Mallorcan families came together with the idea of starting an organisation that would help support their family members with intellectual disabilities. Rather than forming a charity that would collect funds to help with the day to day, they had a very progressive vision of creating a structure that would give support and purpose to their family member’s lives, and which would aid them in being a part of the everyday world. This idea, visionary not only for the time in which it was developed, but even by today’s standards, evolved into the socially progressive organisation called Esment, which today serves over 2000 adults and children on the island, with nearly 900 employees. 

Esment is a Mallorquin word that means to do something with care, love, or careful attention, and this is exactly the approach that it has carried since its first days. Their mission is to provide resources so that people can develop and succeed. “We have an obsession that people feel seen and respected and that they have this feeling for themselves and for others,” explains Mercedes Marrero Fuster, Communications Director for Esment. 

Today, the ‘campus’ of Esment includes schools in Palma and in Inca, where people receive education and training, restaurants in Palma and in Palmanova, a recently opened café in Inca and a new bread shop in El Terreno, all of which employ people with intellectual disabilities, from the cooks and bakers to the servers. In addition, there is Casa Esment, essentially the new HQ for the foundation, opened in 2019, where all of their ideas and projects come together. 

Exterior of Casa Esment in Son Ferriol
Interior of Casa Esment

Casa Esment is set on several acres of land in Son Ferriol, east of the airport, with views of the Tramuntana Mountains in the distant background. Among its many purposes, Casa Esment features a large working farm and greenhouse, where many of the ingredients used in the restaurants are sourced; an offset and digital printing press used by big companies as well as independent artists, including the photo agency Magnum, who has produced books with them; and a workshop where specialty items are prepared such as jams and their signature wines, Gallinas & Focas (red) and Sa Cussa Antònia (white), which are made in collaboration with 4 Kilos. In addition, there is a 3-floor building, designed by Alfons Romero and Marco Alabern, that includes a ground floor restaurant and terrace, offices, and several large spaces where businesses can hold conferences, meetings and events. From the exterior, the building has a traditional Mallorcan farmhouse look, while indoors, it is a marker of the potential to mix sustainability and design for ideal results. Highlights include the restaurant tables made using pinewood sourced from the forests after hurricane Gloria devastated many trees on the northwest coast, and the use of locally made brick that not only enhances ventilation but looks amazing. The building received an award for the best architecture project in Mallorca in 2023. As Marrero Fuster explains, “Design is a value for us. Better design means people feel better about their surroundings and work better. Clients feel better, and so on. This building celebrates the history of Esment and it is a visual representation of the organisation and all that it has done”. You can also say that there is a sense of openness and transparency in the design, which reflects the business model of Esment itself. Other features include using solar panels for energy and an old windmill that was reconverted to create an off-grid water system to irrigate the land. In the locker room or communal recreational spaces, signage is modern, inviting and clear, creating a system of trust and confidence. 

"Design is a value for us. Better design means people feel better about their surroundings and work better. Clients feel better, and so on. "
Gardens at Casa Esment
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