For years, Barcelona Tapas has been a creatively successful culinary and social scene on a quiet cobblestone backstreet in the tropical, seaside, destination of Puerto Vallarta. The vertical profile of the sun-bleached white building is distinctive with its open spaces – dining rooms on each ascending level.

20170204_205154

It is a extremely popular, hip and happening, dining venue which has recently had a spectacular face-lift that brings the structure and open-aired/interior environment up to par with the culinary delights.

Upon arrival, the familiar, welcoming doorway opens to softly lit aggregate stairs that sweep up each tier of the towering edifice.

A massive Cantera stone fountain babbles gently amidst tropical plantings and an iron grill-work is indirectly illuminated for a dramatic effect. An expansive patio all with honed stone tile floors begins the layers of available spaces.

Next an intimate open-aired dining area with an adjacent chef’s table and luminous, full-wall wine cooler beckons with an inviting aura. The intense red drama of a bullfight is rendered in a large painting on the rear wall – a suiting backdrop to the Spanish theme.

20170201_225220

Continuing the ascension, the delightful glossy black ironwork railing follows along and up the open-to-the-sky aggregate staircase turning past the last landing.  Ahead, the beautiful,  warm glow of the new dimensional ceiling treatment accented with wood and indirect lighting draws the eye upward.

Upon arrival on this rooftop dining platform, what was always an exciting view of the city lights, both in the foreground and circling the bay miles around to the north,  now expresses the new architectural features and finishes dazzling the eye.

20170201_212626

Effective lighting, recessed ceiling details, a new clear glass railing, and modern ceiling fans dangling like detached white nosecone propellers present a whole new, fresh, modern look. The drama and effectiveness of the lighting paired with the wonderful surround sound, coming from eight Bose wall-mounted speakers and 2 sub-woofers recessed into the ceiling, result in an atmosphere and music that are seductive and sensational.

But wait – there’s more!!! Yes, an additional rooftop dining patio is revealed upon discovering the hidden staircase at the far end of the bar. New furniture and a billowing fabric-draped portico are soon to arrive!

20170204_230116

This new space not only increases the seating capacity, but offers yet another  panoramic view and trendy design-themed open venue – expanding the options even more!

The project is Chef/Owner Bill Carballo’s passion.

20170204_214701

He has been at it for years creating deliciously original and traditional Spanish tapas (here his exquisie presentations have been half eaten in the rush to enjoy)

from the immaculate exhibition kitchen at the start of the long bar, with a fine-tuned staff eager to assist and cater to your every need.

20170201_225019

This enchanting transformation has attracted new discriminating, trend-setting clients and welcomed the return of  loyal fans to experience this exciting new and stylish interpretation of Barcelona Tapas.

20170201_200631

The doormen Luis and his affable sidekick are there to greet and assist!

Thank you gentlemen and Buenos Noches until next time!!!!

Advertisements

Fun with PERF!

December 3, 2016

Currently finishing a project that has provided a great theme for incorporating metal, it seemed a worthy blog subject for it’s fun and flexibility! Perf is the product – a perforated steel that comes in several percentages of perforation.

We have used this many times for rolling window shades in a flexible coated nylon material. It is great for filtering for sunlight and privacy while allowing a certain amount of “see-through.” It has been used as an architectural screening material for years. You have probably seen it and not realized it on building storefronts and bus wraps – the perforated vinyl coatings are often used for advertisement because they read as though a solid from the one side and are transparent from within.

Here we are playing around with the steel to create cool elements that compliment the theme of this new taproom. The theme is silver and what material does bring to mind? Metallic. So by dressing raw steel with paint – we apply the silver finish and there we have it!

The required outside patio fencing was constructed with very generic square stock. I called it a hamster cage. It was a bland beige when we first arrived and, without notice, the shopping center management had it and the other structural columns lining the canopy/portico painted chocolate brown.

The plan had been to screen it with perforated panels. The darker paint color created a little better contrast and aided in providing a depth of detail to set-off the silver painted perf.

Inside we needed to fill the volume of this most uninteresting dropped ceiling. Already painted black and looking quite voluminous – but not in a good way – the empty space needed some mass. So in one of those restless, middle-of-the-night design sessions of insomnia the idea to create large drums for lighting shades came to mind.

Drums have been in vogue for several years now. Nothing original from the initial use for table lamp shades except their use was broadened to include suspended fixtures and halved for wall sconces. You’ve seen them – hip and happening – and these were quite over-sized and carried the space.

We needed to fill the void of the 12′ high ceilings in this room that had little or no comfort. All hard surfaces, it was a challenge to maintain the silver theme and edginess of a popular taproom while creating comfort. Seemed an oxymoron of a task. But the mass of the perforated drums in three different sizes grouped in the near center of the room did just that.

The addition of multiple warm white lamps inside will be the crowning touch. (photo to be added here in a week or so)

Then a third use of the perforated material came in the idea for a room-divider/hostess station.

img_2342

We needed a place to create a point of arrival. Whether manned or unmanned, this unit can have a chalkboard or other signage identifying special events or beer tastings, with a podium in front creates a translucent backdrop to partially cordon off the rest of the space until the customers are greeted and it also can divide the space for special events and table groupings. to accomplish all of those various purposes we designed it with heavy duty commercial casters complete with brakes so that it could be moved easily for its grand height and weight and  placed where needed for the best advantage.

Stay tuned for the complete un-veiling of this cool new interior in the coming weeks. And meanwhile dream of all the fun you can have with perf!

 

Given the opportunity to improve upon a recently completed taproom, we instantly realized that painting the entire interior would be the best quick-fix. But that instant gratification was not enough to give this needy/hungry interior some meat to get it off and running.

Atmosphere in interiors is so much a part of the brand, the identity, and the success of a business. Popularity is based upon a certain comfort level, the clientele who gravitate there and the product that they are effectively providing. Whether that is food or drink or both, the atmosphere, (including lively enjoyment by clientele), service and food/beverage – all contribute to a successful establishment.

This does not mean high-end, elegant, fancy or even simply hip – although the definition of hip can vary from spare unpretentious and un-self-conscious funky, to studied funky, to affected stylized, to trendy hip and happening,…but, it does NOT always have to represent expensive interior design.

Yet a strip center generally lacks pizzazz and to install a taproom into that generic scene takes some creativity. That does not mean money – it means just what I said, creativity.  And creative interior design is all about ingenuity and balance.

Balance in interior design is key. This interior was filled with hard, cold surfaces – concrete floors, silver-grey laminate table tops, brilliant silver table bases, grey chairs, polished white granite bar top, silver laminate bar face, silver metallic wall sconces, glistening silver under-scaled chandeliers, white walls with cobalt blue accent wall. Brrrrrrr….makes me chilly just recounting the scene. And this was summer! Imagine this setting with crisp cold wind blowing outside and snow blanketing the mountain – not the place you want to gather for a beer in the wintertime!!

20160901_160828

To instantly soften and add warmth, we painted all walls a dark taupe. The soft, mousy grey/brown color pulled from the existing slate wainscoting to tie the two wall parts into a unified “read.” It gave the silver elements (especially the sconces) a contrast – which results in “interest.”

20161103_091444

The back bar was bland even with the new paint color and to add dimension and animation we mirrored the rear center section. This illusion added depth and interest to carry the ceiling through and add a mirrored storefront and exterior reflection which created an illusion of space and character where there had been nothing.

But unlike most back-bars, this area was conspicuously naked. A couple of stainless shelves housing stemmed wine glasses, and growlers felt spare. Plus the right side of the back bar was closer to the bar and the patrons were a mere few feet from a plain, painted sheet-rock wall. Yes, there was a large format TV screen above, but straight ahead – it was just blank wall.

In the wee hours of the morning, as I tossed and turned for a variety of reasons, I jumped from thought to thought, project to project, and personal concerns pelting all the while in a seemingly endless stream of insomnia. Yet, it was during the angst that the idea of the taproom being named “Silver”…silver…beer cans are silver/aluminum…beer cans crushed and nailed to a wall…texture, silver (theme of the taproom) interest – maybe?- all converged into one of those light-bulb moments of revelation.

And yet you might say – “silver…aluminum…more cold and hard. Why would this be an asset to this interior?” I felt that the texture and dimension of the cans would add more interest than the perceived cold and hard of them. The pockets of folded shadows and the relief off from the wall, paired with the over-all massive full-wall of pattern, would all contribute a positive design element to the scene.

As I pictured the wall of circularly flattened aluminum cans in my in my  mind’s eye (a tool that I employ daily while envisioning concepts and finished products well in advance of their fruition), I furthered the concept to encompass possible bar games. Yes, derived from this perfect grid of circular aluminum discs, I began creating games in my head. A bar is often animated by bar games and this was just another opportunity to interact using this unique wall-scape. Since that initial concept, I have created 3 different versions of the animated interaction in the form of games, on this fantastic Can Wall.

So with great patience, Enrique planned the layout with literally laser precision in a perfect grid. We counted the expected number of cans vertically and horizontally aligning with the brilliant red light beams. The previously crushed cans were laid out on a table – well a handful of the 3,200 that we had prepared for the wall. It was determined that punching the nails into the cans prior to installation would expedite the process of affixing them to the Can Wall. Labor intensive from start to finish, this wall was a great accomplishment for a devoted few.

20161103_094518

As the cans were laid out on the table – initially upside down exposing the crinkly open side (devoid of tops), I instantly LOVED the complexity of the depth, texture and shadows. A tight, random application of them would have resulted in a fabulously complex matrix of design. But upon closer inspection, the “texture” was really raw, with sharp threatening edges that were not possibly reasonable within close contact with people brushing by. So, lacerating the staff was not an option – even for a really cool textural metallic wall treatment. Perhaps this application will surface in a more appropriate location away from human flesh in the not-too-distant-future!

Like hubcaps fastened to the broad side of a country barn at dusk, the reflective silver discs pop in the flanking darkness.

20161104_140152

 

The process is nearing completion and I will save for another blog sharing the fun and games emanating from the Can Wall,  and the entire finished project complete with new warm white pendant discs over the bar and soon-to-install enormous perforated drum light fixtures suspended from the ceiling, over-sized photo images of the brewery behind the scenes and tantalizing signature dishes in the unique category of the Nexus New Mexico Soul Food.

 

Meanwhile, the take-away here is…balance cold and rigid with warm and textural – along with all the other opposites that attract – when designing be balanced.