Located on the first floor of the restaurant Brassa de Mar (Alboraia, Valencia, Spain), the essential meaning of the Rice Club project comes from a desire to emphatize the gastronomic values of the founders: ‘there is no modernity without a good tradition’. Francesc Rifé Studio‘s aim was to lead the restaurant towards a transition into a more rational and simple project, as naked as the material itself or the main ingredient of its recipe book that is rice.
The project is an act of balance between two features: the color brown and a lattice system, both fixed and mobile, that transform the restaurant in an intelligent and dynamic way in a completely cubic and sober space. Several factors determined the project’s layout. On one side, it is both a day and night place. On the other, the nature that surrounds it and the large glass that frames the room and lets light and warmth come through. And finally, the intention to subdivide the space in order to host small events or meetings.
Important was the understanding of color as well as the set of lattices executed in stained poplar wood: a material chosen for its lightness, which facilitates the movement of the mobile lattices. Based on the façade lines, through them, the exterior penetrates in a figurative way throughout the restaurant, being subdivided until arriving at the current format. Its translucence softens the different moments of the sun, and offers a poetic sea sight.
These mobile elements are repeated throughout the room and transform into fixed walls. They are in charge of subdividing the spaces in rooms of different sizes, allowing to have from the privacy of unique tables to areas for more diners. As a guest material, gray concrete unifies previously existing pavements giving the space a neutral continuity. It that gives a sense of uniformity to the Rice Club, highlighting the brown color and wood.
From a practical standpoint, this space can be accessed through the exterior communicating ground floor designed with the same dialogue of materials as the upper floor. The architects have connected the reception counter, which is responsible for distributing diners either to the Rice Club or to the terrace, with a waiting area, which in turn is part of the staircase itself. Here is a large circular lamp, designed for the project, imagined as an element of rotation and an intriguing transition to the different spaces of the project (Rice Club, terrace, and access to one of the kitchens).
The vertical volume of the staircase together with the kitchen on the first floor function as the central element of the property. The special feature of this kitchen, delimited with walls with the same tone as the rest of the restaurant, is its double access. In one of these has been build a hole that could be interpreted as a boat porthole that subtly allows a view towards the interior. Around this space different environments are distributed. The south side is a space of important dimensions destined to host events of greater number. It is the part that also contains some reserved areas. The north side is composed of two parts: once the kitchen is overtaken, there is another dining room connected through the lattice with a Gastro-Bar area.
A large counter bar, produced in the same concrete as the floor, takes over the space visually, while the incorporation of low seats invite the visitors to experience the space from a relaxed perspective. Laterally, a couch running faces the entire beach of the Patacona. Both the bathrooms and the emergency exit are located next to this area of benches, fitted into cubicles that also allow to interweave more tables and chairs. A rigorous, flexible and intentioned timeless set.
Design and info © Francesc Rifé Studio
Images © David Zarzoso