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Raw Ingredients

(June 2017) posted on Thu Jun 22, 2017

Today’s coolest restaurants break down design into showcases for streamlined style that’s a visual palate cleanse.

By Oriana Lerner

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Making a less-is-more approach not only work but “wow” means putting in a lot more brainwork and legwork. “We had to test the balance of number of layers versus the simplicity of character,” says Bognar. “The final version does not have as many layers as one might think. In a small space, the effect is magnified. The arrangement of the screens was done by sketching within the team, then by physical model, then digital modeling confirmation, then drawn and assembled by hand onsite. It’s a full range of analog to digital techniques. But it was all guided by a hand-made ethos.”

Balazs Bognar
Balazs Bognar, Kengo Kuma and Associates. Photo: Miko Hayashi

While the rest of the space takes a back seat to the ceiling-spanning visual element, it’s not any less carefully thought out. White painted walls, white oak surfaces, a tatami mat platform and a dry rock garden by Sadafumi Uchiyama provide a backdrop for the screens. Various configurations including bar stools, two-top tables and chairs and tatami platform seating offer guests a personalized experience that’s as elegantly restrained as the locally sourced fare. Think more miso soup, less gastronomy.

Bellavista Del Jardín del Norte

Restaurant designers might need to add “distiller” to their job descriptions if they want to make magic, not moonshine. Yes, many of today’s chicest eateries have complex and sometime fanciful narratives. But as El Equipo Creativo partner Natali Canas del Pozo’s vision for this village-festival-themed dining complex—which includes all day dining, from grab-and-go to formal dinner in various venues under one roof—shows, even the biggest macro concept can be channeled into a clear, uncomplicated execution.

Bellavista del Jardin del Norte
The restaurant's "plaza" area uses firework-like ceiling ornaments to add a sense of occasion. Red chairs ground the look. Photo: Adria Goula

Step one was centralizing the food production, so that not all spaces had to be open at all day parts. The space is laid out as a mini-village, and each area references a different piece of that, from a fairground to a bar to a church.


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