ENIGMA Restaurant Barcelona – An air of mystery

ENIGMA Restaurant Barcelona – An air of mystery

📅15 gennaio 2018, 10:45

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The story of ENIGMA started with renowned Catalan chef Albert Adrià’s vision to create an ‘out of this world and enigmatic’ restaurant project that was to reflect his cuisine as well as his career. His vision took shape when 2017 Pritzker Prize winners RCR Arquitectes drew their design idea in watercolours and decided to bring it to life with the help of Neolith® by TheSize, manufacturer and designer of Sintered Stone.

Having worked on the design proposal for three years, Adrià wanted to ensure the perfect outcome for his passion project. The chef wanted to create and immersive environment to captivate his guests. The chef’s style of cooking and menu is heavily influenced by the surroundings, hence, the interior had to reflect that.

interior design enigma restaurant barcelona

From paper to slab

The pivotal moment in terms of design came when RCR in collaboration with architect Pau Llimona drew a watercolour painting in the size of two A3 papers, which was to be applied to the floors, walls, bathrooms, kitchen worktops, cabinetry and air extraction systems. However, a watercolour design has not been done on Sintered Stone before, thus posing an unprecedented challenge. Carlos Garcia, Product Designer at TheSize explains: “We had to expand the original design, all the while trying not to lose the quality of definition offered by the original drawing. Each pixel was equal to two meters of final floor.” Through R&D, Neolith developed the technology to re-create the design onto slabs, producing a perfect replica of the drawing. Once this was achieved, an exact colour match had to be sourced, as the required green and blue tones are unusual hues for sintered surfaces. The intensity of the colours had to fit in with the other materials and decorations throughout the restaurant as to achieve a unified environment, fully submerging diners. Using Neolith’s proprietary digital printing decoration technology NDD (Neolith Digital Design), the architect’s design brief was fully met. The architects wanted every slab to be of irregular texture like Neolith’s Riverwashed, but with a subtle shine to provide a surface that is multisensory, interesting to the eye and inviting to touch. “Neolith is a contemporary material with many properties. We have been so surprised by its possibilities that we are now using it for other projects”, RCR explain.

Installation

The floor presented the biggest challenge because of its sheer size. Each slab is unique and had to be perfectly put together in order to deliver a continuous design. However, the only way to get a full picture of the puzzle required some creative problem-solving and a change of perspective. Neolith initially installed the entire floor off-site and used a drone to take images from above, thus ensuring that there were no inconsistencies.
interior design enigma restaurant barcelona

RCR Arquitectes/P. Llimona designed an organic space full of curves and narrow aisles and required the slabs to be cut down into six smaller pieces, the smallest being only 3 cm wide. Absolute precision was key to guarantee the uniformity of the watercolour design. Taking inspiration from a map, a coordinate system was put into place, uniquely labelling every single slab to know its exact position in the project. This way, the installers on location were able to piece the interior together like a puzzle.

ENIGMA RESTAURANT

Albert Adrià, RCR Arquitectes and Neolith are all award winners within their respective industries. Together they created a project that is truly spectacular in terms of design, material quality, food, and surprisingly fashion. Located on the main floor of a bland office building, Enigma has an anonymous-looking entrance that requires a code number for admission, provided when the guest pays an advance deposit online. Inside, diners begin a journey through six separate spaces, sprawling over 700 sqm, where they are served a tasting menu of more than 40 small dishes. Completing the scene is the ENIGMA staff, whose uniforms have also been designed by RCR/P. Llimona.

NEOLITH®

The Neolith® brand is the outcome of the latest research and development processes in the industry. The product is 100 percent natural, composed of raw material – clays, feldspar, silica and natural mineral oxides, and is recyclable.

THESIZE

Headquartered in Castellón, Spain, TheSize was founded in 2009 with the objective of creating a new material category suitable for exterior and interior construction: kitchen and bath countertops, furnishings, flooring and facades. In 2011, the Neolith® brand was launched as high-end compact surface with revolutionary physical and technical features.
by AN shopfitting magazine no.142 ©


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