Xanc i Meli is a new restaurant set in Barcelona with a gastronomy concept that mix the traditional cuisine with contemporary touches and which has different kind of ambiances inside, so one can go to have dinner or just to drink a vermouth on weekends. Despite the poor conservation status of the old premises, the Spanish architecture studio AMOO have succeeded in carrying out a refurbishment project that reflects the new use and concept in its architecture itself.
With elongated proportions of 17×3.8 m, Aureli Mora and Omar Ornaque decided to maintain the original structure of the premises and take the most out of it for the new design. This way, the three existing load-bearing walls are used to divide the space and to create three different ambiances: an entrance room, a bar area and a more private lounge-diner.
Thanks to the new programme distribution, we are receive by a first entrance space –maintaining the original ceiling height- with high lateral bars and tables aimed for informal chatting and drinks. Then, behind the first load-bearing wall and connected through pre-existing openings with the first room, there is the bar area. A zone with a more relaxed ambiance with a variable ceiling height in order to delimit the working area and the kitchen. Finally, once we pass the access to the toilets, we find a space of lower height designed as a more intimate and quieter lounge-diner. A last space, initially dark, that is opened towards an inner yard which has been coated and enlightened in order to give a sense of open air.
Xanc i Meli combines tradition and modernity both in its gastronomic concept and its architecture
Nevertheless, the design key of Xanc I Meli lays on a curated selection and treatment of wall coatings and floorings. Here, the main aim was to conserve the materials from the traditional architecture but playing with their geometry and arrangement in order to break with the preconceived idea and to turn them into contemporary elements. This design pretends to stablish a conceptual dialogue with the restaurant concept itself and which results in an attractive collage of materials and techniques.
This way, when the project of Xanc i Meli started, a series of different masonry works were discovered and left uncovered up to a height of 2,2m. From this point, the walls and ceilings are painted in a uniform colour that helps to give homogeneity to the complex. Likewise, a traditional tile system of long thing bricks is chosen for the floorings. However, it is arranged in a not so common diagonal angle -with longitudinal marked joints that highlights the pavement directionality- and that strategically climbs by the walls creating an attractive game of textures and geometries. On the other hand, breaking in chromaticism and materiality, a flooring of white marble covers the central bar area. A material traditionally used for bar-counters and which, in here, is replicated for singular elements such as the perimeter bars and furniture pieces.
Photos by José Hevia