With their latest design of Disfrutar (enjoy, in Spanish), El Equipo Creativo, a Spanish creative firm, has crafted a space with three distinct parts that lead a patron through a day in the life. Busy and metropolitan inspired design at first, leading to a Mediterranean-inspired oasis.
Let’s think about a normal day in our lives. For most, the day starts with a commute to work; the hustle and bustle of cars and crowds, followed by a day of intense exertion. After work, after another commute maybe, we arrive at home, with its warmth and welcoming aura. And once we shake off the drowsiness from work, and the busyness that seems to be everywhere, we can finally breathe; a deep, full breath that with an exhale carries our troubles away with it. We can relax, unwind, maybe grab a glass of wine or coffee; whatever it may be that helps us unravel.
A life well-lived includes all of these parts; however great or awful they may be. It creates a full, complex, interesting triptych. To create this experience, complex and diverse, yet interconnected, El Equipo Creativo has used a simple material (ceramics, in various forms, colors, and shapes) to tie it all together, a common thread in the intricate canvas of life and in this design.
In the foyer and gastro bar, a modern, urban- inspired design reflects the busyness of the metropolitan area of Barcelona; the type of environment one leaves when entering the experience of Disfrutar. Dominated by colorful tiles and metal, this area is designed to be a mirror; the metal features a reference to the “antique Ninot food market across the street”, and the monochromatic tiles, a playful, colorful use of the ceramic material, is designed to be a “deconstructed mural by Miró”, a Catalan- based, Surrealist artist.
The corridor between this area and the dining area in the rear of the building is the heart of the operation, both positionally and literally: the kitchen. An open design invites patrons to view the artists crafting their food in the middle of the madness; pots and pans flying, food transforming from basic ingredients to extravagant dishes and entrees. Here, the ceramic motif is used in “their most humble and rugged format”, as baked brick pieces create a visibly penetrable layer through which patrons “can see the interior of this oven, golden and warm”. The rustic look and color scheme of this area invokes that of a rustic, old world kitchen; scenes of large brick ovens and scents of Greece of antiquity.
Past the foyer, and through the kitchen, patrons encounter the dining area; a true Mediterranean experience. White-washed walls, ceilings, and floors allow the space to become luminous with ample light from the beautiful Barcelona outdoors. Keeping the canvas of the space blank was an intentional choice of the designers, who, keeping with the Mediterranean theme, allow natural colors and sightlines to enter the room: “always Mediterranean, like the green of the bushes, the yellow of the genista or the blue of the sky.”
The versatility of ceramic as a material is paramount in this space. Having the material, in diverse colors, forms, and shapes, allows continuity in a design that is as diverse as a day in the Mediterranean. Colors changes, light shifts, and experiential diversity are characteristic of life and become incorporated in this design in a way that is fascinating, inviting, complex, and sheds light on how design and the built environment can both mimic and illuminate the natural world.