Balfegó is a brand of red tuna that is on a mission to repair the tainted reputation of the fish. Part of this program is Tunateca Balfegó, a restaurant in Barcelona where every dish is tuna-based.
For the project, they enlisted the help of El Equipo Creativo; a local studio known throughout the city for its vivid, experiential interiors that reference, not only the type of cuisine served, but often its processes and providence.
Tunateca Balfegó is situated in a corner locale in an ornate early 19th-century building; typical of the architecture that lines the city’s busy Diagonal Avenue. ‘It was decided quite early in the project that the space should be a bit like a jewellery shop, but with movement and depth,’ says Oliver Franz Schmidt of El Equipo Creativo.
Fortunately the restaurant designers had a five-metre-high space to play with. Eyes immediately gaze upwards towards an installation made of a translucent fish in a circular formation. Their purpose is to give you the sensation that you are swimming with a school of silvery tuna, and their fluidity is echoed in the organic shape of the tables, which represent different cuts of the fish. Leather chairs treated with a scalloped pattern appear in blood red, the colour of the tuna’s flesh.
Imaginative tile work has become El Equipo Creativo’s signature. Tunateca Balfegó’s entire space is swathed in a custom-made paving and wall tiles in variants of blue, representing both the seabed and fish scales. (The tiles were made by the same workshop as those used on the roof of Barcelona’s landmark Santa Caterina Market). In the private, upstairs dining and meeting room, intense yellow-ish hues and wooden surfaces lend a warmer, more intimate counterpoint to the aquatic world below.