Thursday, July 20, 2017

An air of mystery - this is Enigma!

Compiled by Team IAnD
Photography: Neolith® by TheSize; courtesy v2com
Read Time: 2 mins
"enigma neolith by the size RCR Arquitectes Ar Pau Llimona indiaartndesign"

RCR Arquitectes helps Neolith® bring to life a watercolour design on sintered stone! What’s more, it becomes the soul of Barcelona’s Enigma restaurant…

Renowned Catalan chef Albert AdriĆ ’s vision to create an ‘out of this world and enigmatic’ restaurant has culminated in bringing-to-life a design idea rendered in watercolour, by 2017 Pritzker Prize winners RCR Arquitectes in collaboration with architect Pau Llimona.

"fluid sintered stone enigma neolith by the size RCR Arquitectes indiaartndesign"

Aspiring to reflect his cuisine as well as his career in an immersive environment that would captivate his guests, the chef’s vision began taking shape, when Neolith® by TheSize, manufacturer and designer of sintered stone, took on the challenge of transferring the watercolour – without losing the quality of definition offered by the original drawing – onto the stone that would then be used as the predominant surface finish for the restaurant.

"watercolour design enigma neolith by the size RCR Arquitectes indiaartndesign"

From paper to slab: Applying a watercolour design to stone was an unprecedented challenge.  The architects’ watercolour painting was rendered in the size of two A3 papers, which was to be applied to the floors, walls, bathrooms, kitchen worktops, cabinetry and air extraction systems. The design was expanded with each pixel being equal to two metres of final floor. Through R&D, Neolith developed the technology to re-create the design onto slabs, producing a perfect replica of the drawing. 
"transfer sintered stone enigma neolith by the size RCR Arquitectes indiaartndesign"

The next step was to source an exact colour match, as the required green and blue tones were unusual hues for sintered surfaces. Also, the intensity of the colours had to fit in with the other materials and decorations throughout the restaurant to achieve a unified environment, fully submerging diners. Using Neolith’s proprietary digital printing decoration technology NDD (Neolith Digital Design), the architect’s design brief was fully met.

Installation: The architects wanted every slab to be of irregular texture, but with a subtle shine to provide a surface that is multisensory - interesting to the eye and inviting to touch.
The floor presented the biggest challenge because of its sheer size. Each slab was unique and had to be perfectly put together to deliver a continuous design. Therefore, using some creative problem-solving and a change of perspective, Neolith initially installed the entire floor off-site and used a drone to take images from above, thus ensuring that there were no inconsistencies in the final laying out.
"fine dine areas enigma neolith by the size indiaartndesign"

The architects’ design of an organic space full of curves and narrow aisles necessitated the slabs to be cut down into six smaller pieces, the smallest being only three-cm wide. Absolute precision was key to guarantee the uniformity of the watercolour design.

"watercolour design on stone slabs enigma neolith by the size RCR Arquitectes indiaartndesign"
"corridor enigma neolith by the size indiaartndesign"

Taking inspiration from a map, a coordinate system was put into place, uniquely labelling every single slab to know its exact position in the project. This way, the installers on location could piece the interior together like a puzzle. The result is Enigma - a project that is truly spectacular in terms of design, material quality, food, and surprisingly fashion!


The icing on the cake, so to say, is the design of the staff uniforms (also by RCR/P. Llimona) that add to the unexpected intrigue of the place. Truly full of surprises, the architects describe it as “…an enveloping space that melts, disappears, almost a labyrinth. Between materiality and conformation, a whole series of organic movements are created. Shadows, transparencies, and a watery presence, nebular.”

1 comment :

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