Lagranja Design mixes sophistication and fun, while giving a lesson in Spanish pop culture in its design of the new FOC restaurant in Singapore, writes Olha Romaniuk.
16 December, 2014
Behind an unassuming facade of a refurbished shophouse on Hong Kong Street is an energetic restaurant that emanates a fiery, passionate Barcelonean aura through a multi-layered array of tastes and sights under one inconspicuous roof. While much of FOC restaurant’s magnetism is in its Michelin-starred chef Nandu Jubany, the whimsical and playful interior, conceptualised and executed by Barcelonian-based Lagranja Design, stands its ground as one of the more imaginative and high-spirited F&B interiors to have recently opened in Singapore.
The design of FOC, a Catalan word for fire and, in this instance, an allegory for chef Jubany’s passion for cooking, had to enhance the overall dining experience by transporting the diner into Barcelona, a city that inspired Jubany’s menu creations. Thus, to highlight the food prepared by the chef and to bring the essence of Barcelona to Singapore, the design team at Lagranja chose to mix the old and the new, the quirky and the understated, and to populate the existing shophouse space with updated interpretations and inspirations from the Catalan culture.
Working within the spatial constraints of a narrow shophouse, Lagranja developed a straightforward and practical layout for the restaurant’s front and back rooms, with an elongated bar and part of the dining room spilling into the front and leading deeper into the premises to an open kitchen and a continuation of a dining area. Aside from retaining the open ceiling and painting it grey to minimise the appearance of the electrical and mechanical fixtures, Lagranja also chose to incorporate the existing glass skylight into the design, covering its original frame with maple hardwood.
Lagranja’s design team made a deliberate choice to keep the majority of the restaurant space simple and understated, emphasising on the contrasts created between darker versus brighter lit spaces and playing up juxtaposing interior features against each other. Black iron sheet wainscoting and a long perimeter shelf stand out against the largely unadorned, light grey walls, while oak wood dining room furnishings make an impactful contrast against the dyed black concrete floor with dark silkscreen printed Spanish tile patterns.
By keeping the main interior surfaces deliberately minimalist and introducing a number of intriguing decorative statements throughout FOC to draw a visitor’s eye to the peculiarities of the décor choice, the Lagranja design team have crafted a fun-spirited story of Barcelona’s vibrant pop culture. Selected patches of graffiti on the wall, a domino-tile-clad bar counter and large pendant lamps, inspired by burlesque masks from street festivals in Catalunya, evoke the unmistakably Spanish vibe within the restaurant’s spaces and contextualise the chef’s dishes for a whole immersive experience. Told through a selection of custom-made objects, created specifically for FOC to convey particular cultural elements that are unique to Spain, Lagranja has managed to infuse fun and whimsy into a design that is well and truly Catalonian.
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