Dehesa Fields by Binom

July 23, 2018

“Dehesa Fields” is the name we use for the new restaurant – Llerena- we have designed in Islington (London) for a Spanish family business that has for generations reared livestock,  including acorn fed pigs, in the southern area of Extremadura and North West of Andalusia.  The fields in this region, in Spanish “dehesa”, where the animals graze are a very moving landscape and, like our clients, we wanted to instil this feeling of an open, semi-barren yet atmospheric and beautiful environment within the restaurant.   There was a sense of earthiness and authenticity that felt important for us to transmit whilst taking into account that this restaurant is very much a part of a dynamic and youthful area of London and needed to feel both rural and urban at the same time.

As a result, our design for “Dehesa Fields” balances a casual, unpretentious feel with a desire to make it somewhere special to go out in the evening.  This is important as the restaurant is open from breakfast through to lunch, dinner and late-night cocktails.  It needs to transform accordingly. The combination of rough textures on surfaces like painted brick and woven steel mesh with the glossiness of the glazed ceramics above the bar eases this sense of transformation; as does the lighting scheme that can be changed from a gentle one relying more on natural day-light to a more glamorous one at night-time with the full use of back-lit panels.These panels are also a significant part of the overall design as within them we have created images of the dehesa fields subtly referring to a sense of untouched wilderness and the warmth of Spanish sunshine.

The restaurant seats up to 40 people with tapas served in the bar area and the full menu in the main dining space.  All the dishes are based on the owners’ own meat products imported from their estate in South Western Spain.  They are presented on Spanish pottery from the same region as the produce.  We have designed the restaurant tables and have included some irregular indented configurations that allow separate groups of people to sit around the same table as well as facilitate conversations across a table for bigger groups eating together. As an extension of the overall interior, we also designed the long concrete bar that visible to the street with its striking lighting feature made up of ceramic pots, some which have down-lighting integrated within them. All the ceramics for the piece were sourced from a workshop in Salvatierra de los Barros and we used Rhino 3-D modelling to help design and assemble the piece.

As Spanish architects working for nearly ten years with our practice based in London, “Dehesa Fields” has been a special project for us.  We have enjoyed referencing traditions from Spain, like the earthy colour palette, within the restaurant interior and seeing how these can be integrated to something that sits comfortably in central London. We have deliberately appropriated and abstracted such references to avoid creating what can too easily feel like a themed interior. We hope that our own awe of the dehesa, a unique agricultural landscape with its wildlife, comes across in this project.

Architects |  Binom

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