Far away from the tourist scene on the Spanish island of Mallorca, the Danish architect Jørn Utzon built a special holiday home for him and his family. Can Lis, built in the early 1970s, is now considered an icon of 20th century architecture. Today it is open to public occasions and it even serves as an accommodation.
Next to a steep slope on a remote stretch of coastline, where the cliff plunges into the sea, stands the summer retreat that Utzon named after his wife Lis. It is a reinterpretation of the traditional Mallorcan architectural style built entirely from local materials. Utzon obtained the special, dusty, pink stone that forms the solid walls of the house and serves as a camouflage in the streetscape from the nearby quarry in the town of Santanyi. All the walls of Can Lis are thick with deep sunken windows so that the residents feel protected and sheltered. Although the house has been built in typical 70's style – all different pavilions connected to each other – you get a huge feeling of space due to the rich light and uninterrupted views of the ocean. In the large living space there is a white-tiled bench that was also constructed from the same dusty stone as the walls of the house. Each piece of furniture is part of the architecture as a permanent feature.
Utzon kept furniture pieces to a minimum in order to maintain peace and serenity.
Several small corners in the building have been carved into the walls where the beds used to stand. Utzon kept additional furniture to a minimum in order to maintain peace and serenity. He also regularly used crescent motifs in the interior. These are a reference to the then street name Avinguda Media Luna. Both this and the triangular design detail on the roof are a hint of Utzon's love of graphic forms. At the edge of the cliff, Can Lis offers a vast and breathtaking view of the ocean that is visible from the living space. The surrounding trees bring shady spots into the whole. A true place of comfortable conviviality.