The starting point for this project was a restaurant inside a health club that had become obsolete and lost its charisma throughout the years. We were asked to design a new concept for this space, in terms of interior design, but also its branding. However, we needed to maintain as much as possible the existing structures, keeping always in mind a reduced but sufficient budget.
We decided to create new elements within the restaurant area, with unique features that allows the creation of a new identity, but also relate them with the preservation of the existing elements. The balance between the existing and the new was essential, so in the end everything could be read with unicity. The existing layout for the tables arrangement wasn't satisfactory, so we tried to create different areas with new approaches to the eating experience, some more directed for groups, with others more focused on couples and individuals. This created a new space hierarchy, through the manipulation of the ceiling heights, the use of specific colors, and the creation of permeable surfaces with motives that are replicated, allowing the possibility of having unique interior environments according to the time of the day and the purpose of the meal. The lighting plays an important role in the space experience, so this element was rethought and adjusted to take advantage of the newly created elements.
For the restaurant decoration, new principles were taken in order to create a refreshed identity that could also reflect the culture and the traditions of Portuguese cuisine. This includes a specific area for handcrafted clay and cork lamps from TASA, an Algarve regional Craftsman Association. The popular Clay Swallows, a Portuguese Crafts symbol made famous by the artist Bordalo Pinheiro, fly around the white walls, bringing to mind old countryside iconography. We also designed a re-interpretation of Portuguese food-related sayings combining with the plate shapes and “hanged” them on the walls—a reference to the old plates in traditional kitchen houses.