Barcelona is a popular destination not only for its culture, cuisine, and coastal location, but also for its close proximity to charming old Catalonia towns, including many well-preserved medieval masterpieces. For the majestic Bellavista del Jardín del Norte restaurant (meaning Beautiful View of the Garden in the North), El Equipo Creativo was tasked with introducing “the spirit and the atmosphere” of such a village without being too literal, explains Natali Canas del Pozo, one of three partners at the local firm. Despite the 10,000-square-foot space, the design’s homage to idyllic village life is marked by intimate areas and floral displays that act as a prelude to the lush outdoor space in the back—“a surprising oasis in Barcelona” that inspired the restaurant’s name, she says.
It starts with an enchanting, yet dramatic greeting: a colorful cascade of thousands of artificial flowers suspends from the ceiling, guiding guests inside where low ceilings boast lighter flower arrangements both in density and color. To reproduce village streets, metallic stall frames and letter signs form a grocery store (with hanging vegetables) and a newsstand (clad in old newspapers). Beyond, guests can sit in the cake shop, a convivial barbershop, the local pub with disc-like light fixtures, or watch chefs cook at Tombola’s open kitchen.
Strings of lightbulbs held by tensioning cables lead guests from the entrance to the plaza—the main dining area that encourages socializing with various colorful seating areas and looks out onto the garden through expansive windows. Guests sit underneath a sky of lighting installations that resemble the abstract form of fireworks, while black and white beaded curtains hang at differing heights to create “a rhythmic effect similar to the curtains of the doors and windows in a village,” Canas del Pozo says. But no Spanish village is complete without a church, which here borders the central zone and is dressed in purple flags and features a replica of the bell that sits outside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
Upstairs, the flowers transform once again, this time as wallpaper enveloping the private event space. Overlooking the botanical entrance installation, which is intended to represent the village florist, natural light trickles in through large windows. At the other end, four areas separated by monochromatic beaded screens offer the best views of the bustling plaza and street below.
The blue tone on the walls and ceilings—meant to evoke the sky—gives “the space a festive and fresh atmosphere, typical of those summer festivals in town,” Canas del Pozo points out. It is part of creating a common “setting for many Spanish people: going back home for the yearly village feast and enjoying homemade food,” she says. “Each corner is as surprising as it is familiar.”