Local studio Masquespacio added undulating, earthy-toned walls to an intimate Valencia restaurant that takes cues from the “organic forms” of Middle Eastern architecture.
The restaurant is characterised by sloping, sandy-toned microcement walls that pay homage to the decorative motifs often found in Middle Eastern architecture, such as multifoil arches.
Designed in various hues of desert-like browns and pinks, Living Bakkali’s curved arches are arranged in intricate formations that create intimate seating areas within the restaurant.
“We used the recognisable brownish colour from the East, although we added slightly different colours to the palette – such as red – but always in a soft way and through earthy tones,” Masquespacio co-founder Christophe Penasse told Dezeen.
“Middle Eastern seating is also almost always lower and more loungy than in the western world,” he added, referring to the restaurant’s low-slung dark crimson sofas and chairs.
Guests enter the space at a central hall that is connected to the kitchen, which was designed to create the feeling of exploring a street filled with ancient houses.
“Interiors [in the Middle East] are almost never shown directly from the outside, although you can [often] find windows of arch forms that create a sense of double walls,” explained Penasse.
The restaurant’s thick walls are interrupted only by cut-out holes that create small windows between each table, some of which are tucked away in intimate booths. Among the various dining areas is a private room, which is reached through a corridor flanked by gauzy curtains.
Described by the restaurant itself as an “ode to adobe architecture,” Living Bakkali takes cues from this natural construction material, as Masquespacio said that the venue’s walls were designed to create an adobe effect, which means mud-brick in Spanish.
The studio also designed all of the floors and ceilings in microcement in order to immerse visitors in a wholly cavernous environment that is intended to be reminiscent of traditional Middle Eastern houses.
Penasse said that Masquespacio’s design process for Living Bakkali involved the exploration of many aspects of Middle Eastern culture – from architecture and materials to ways of eating through history.
“We got connected with the organic forms that have been used throughout Middle Eastern architecture, which was made mainly with clay materials by hand,” Penasse explained.
“We wanted to bring the [traditional] Arabic aesthetic to the future in a new and more modern way, but still sought to maintain its essence,” he said.
Masquespacio was founded by Penasse and Ana Milena Hernández Palacios in 2010. Similar projects by the studio include Pukkel, a restaurant in Aragon that features winding stucco walls that were informed by the curvature of the nearby Pyrenees mountains.
The photography is by Sebastian Erras.