Architecture, News I 18.10.18 I by

Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub

The 17th-century complex gets a second life

Spanish designer Francesc Rifé has given a 17th-century Valencia convent new life as a destination for culture and gastronomy.

Rechristened Convent Carmen, the building incorporates the former San José and Santa Teresa convent in Plaza Portal Nou. It is opening to the public in phases, starting with a bucolic food market.

Hungry patrons can now make a pilgrimage to the complex’s palm-strewn grounds, fitted with shady pergolas and three shipping container volumes that house al fresco ‘food truck’ style restaurants. These serve up Valencian classics such as esgarraet and espetos, as well as ramen and pad thai.

Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso

The deconsecrated building meanwhile hosts film screenings and public talks and has undergone a minimalist makeover by the studio, designed to highlight its striking bones and domed ceilings.

‘We sought to create very little noise through the design of a specifically minimalist structure,’ says principal Francesc Rifé.

Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso

He adds: ‘Through light, we have worked to highlight the main elements of the church… The RGB colour light system allows you to experience space in a much more mystical and special way.’

A 50-room hotel is slated to open at the complex in 2020.

Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso
Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso
Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso
Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso
Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso
Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso
Francesc Rifé transforms a Valencia convent into an arts and gastronomy hub
Photography: David Zarzoso

Read next: Fernando Abellanas designs a secret studio under a bridge in Valencia

Betty is the Editor of The Spaces.

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