Project Of The Week – Alkimia
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire series features Alkimia, an artfully abstract restaurant located within the heart of Barcelona.
Alkimia is located on the main floor of a modernist building (dating back to 1864) which had previously been left unoccupied for 40 years. The project design was carried out taking into consideration two main elements: the pre-existing architectural context (including its old patina & typology) and the specific gastronomic offer of the Michelin-starred restaurant Alkimia (the menu is 80% fish). The designers wanted to establish a meaningful relationship between the architectural context & the new design. Safeguarding the existing architectural context of the building was paramount. Generating a sensory path where customers are indulged by flavours, fragrances, and all sorts of perceptions were also an vital part of the Alkimia experience.
The restaurant has been conceived as a continuous scenography fostering a seamless sensory experience. The different parts of this scenography feature ocean inspired skins, art installations & custom-made furniture which establish a unique relationship with the surrounding space. Nothing is forever, everything is bespoke. In order to preserve the existing architecture, neither structural interventions nor permanent transformation of the building were proposed. Even the vintage patina on the walls has been kept. Overall, the project is based on a dialogue between digital fabrication and craftsmanship.
SBID had the opportunity to speak with Carmelo Zappulla, PHd Architect with External Reference.
Company: External Reference and Chu Uroz
Project Location: Barcelona, Spain.
What was the client’s brief?
The restaurant is located in the centre of Barcelona, on the main floor of a modernist building (dating back to 1864) left unoccupied for 40 years. The project design has been carried out taking into consideration two elements: the pre-existing architectural context (including its old patina and typology) and the specific gastronomic offer of the Michelin-starred restaurant Alkimia (which is 80% based on fish).
What inspired the design of the project?
1 – The relationship between old and new, digital and artisan.
The project was conceived as a series of physical interventions, or artistic installations that work as mobile or ephemeral devices in dialogue with the old apartment. These elements are the ‘fish spine’ which generates a path that bring you from the reception to the dining rooms and which separates the Unplugged from the formal area.
2. The ‘Alkimia Lab’ is making a new interpretation of the nobiliary entrance of the apartment.
3. The winery, the gallery, the sofa, all the elements are contemporary, new filters that allow you to see the old space and patina.
All these elements are designed using cutting edges parametric software. The fabrication is created through a digital fabrication process, artisanal knowledge and hard work. For example the mold of the AURA chair is 3D printed however its production is completely traditional: cast aluminium, hand welding and polishing, upholstery…
4. The Jordi Vila’s Cousin and his vision of mixing together traditional ingredients with new techniques like an alchemist. From this, the name Alkimia.
What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?
To design all the custom made furniture, components and manage and instruct manufacturers who had never completed something as challenging.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
Because it is a very prestigious award.
Questions answered by Carmelo Zappulla, PHd Architect at External Reference.
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If you missed last week’s Project of the Week with the historic York Theatre Royal click here to see more
Entries were received, finalists deliberated and the winners of the SBID International Design Awards 2017 have been announced! Click here to see the full list.
We hope you feel inspired! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire