Five-metre-high wicker baskets hang as lampshades from the ceiling of this Barcelona restaurant.
Named El Japonés@22, the restaurant was designed by Spanish studio Sandra Tarruella Interioristas.
The handwoven baskets are suspended above the wooden tables and chairs and prevent echoes from bouncing off the exposed concrete walls and ceiling.
Different weaves give varying levels of opacity to each of the baskets. Some of these are square in profile, while others are round.
A floor-to-ceiling framework of red power-coated metal at the end of the dining room accommodates the kitchen and storage areas.
The latest venture of Grupo Tragaluz is the new restaurant El Japonés@22, located at the Barcelona district 22@, in the Poblenou area. This area of the city is undergoing a major transformation as many office buildings, universities, public facilities etc. have been recently built. El Japonés@22 is situated on the ground floor of the Mediapro building.
When designing the space, it was interesting to observe the area, the flows of people, businesses and activities nearby, and understand the potential future clients who might use the restaurant. Another key element was the space itself. The existing structure, nearly seven meters high and with concrete walls and ceiling, was decisive for the outcome of the project.
The overall height of the space was preserved in order to keep the existing concrete ceiling visible, as well as the full height of the concrete walls. We felt that this was an essential aspect of the project, in order to respect the character of the space.
The visibility of the kitchen from the dining room – another important conceptual element of the restaurant and hence, of the design project – was achieved by means of a structure of metal pillars completing an existing mezzanine (the current storage area) already built in the same way. From the entrance, one can see how the whole cooking activity is enclosed within the structure, coloured red, with pillars spanning from floor to ceiling. The washing area of the kitchen is situated within a volume of iron also contained within the metal structure.
The length of the space determined its final layout. Right next to the entrance, on the left side, is the bar for drinks and breakfast, followed by two large communal tables. The wooden shelves on the concrete wall provide storage space for some of the products used in the restaurant. The remaining tables were placed along the facade, taking advantage of the natural light and offering the possibility of playing with their distribution according to needs. Over these tables, the four- to five-metre long wicker lamps hanging from the ceiling are the key feature of the project.
The tradition of hand-made basketry, used in some Asian cultures such as the Japanese, was reinterpreted using wicker of different shapes and thickness, here used for sound absorption and to provide a sense of comfort and protection to the clients. They all punctually illuminate the tables with a warm light. The design of these lamps was adapted by the artisans, resulting in different forms and heights that add great dynamism and order to the facade. Some of the lamps also have a warm light inside, thus functioning as a great eye-catcher from the outside. The intention that this would be a youthful, dynamic and fresh space is also reflected in the choice of materials. A combination of natural oak flooring, tables and shelves, birch plywood planks, iron, and white Corian provides the necessary balance and neutrality and act as a background for the large wicker lamps.
￼Team: Sandra Tarruella and Ricard Trenchs
Project leader: Laura Muñoz
Collaborators: Catina Verdera, Elsa Noms, Anna Badia, Olga Pajares, Albert Martin and Marta Cirera.