|Design, Interior Design
15 Carrer de Ginebra
|+34 93 319 69 84
Commissioned to redesign Barcelona’ emblematic Cheriff restaurant, which has been serving seafood, paella and freshly-caught fish in the seaside neighbourhood of La Barceloneta since 1959, local architecture and design studio MESURA set out to marry the establishment’s culinary tradition and humble origins with contemporary sophistication. Embracing what they describe as “intellectual elegance”, the team has grounded their design in authenticity, craftsmanship and simplicity in order to imbue the venue with “a timelessness that is easily understood” as designer Massimo Vignelli poignantly says.
Cheriff is part of Barceloneta’s historical memory, its whimsical name attesting to its deep roots in the community. Pedro Ruipérez, whose small fish shop preceded the restaurant’s opening, was a fan of American Western movies, oftentimes going to work in a sombrero and gun belt – an eccentric attire that earned him the nickname “sheriff”. In the 1980s, Pedro’s granddaughter “Nini” took over the restaurant’s cuisine and by the time she retired in 2016 (when Cheriff was acquired by the hospitality group Iborra Restaurants), the restaurant had become a local institution. In order to celebrate the legendary eatery’s storied history and traditional culinary philosophy MESURA conjured a timeless aesthetic that filters its past through a contemporary lens
Faced with the restaurant’s endearing yet tired historic interiors, rather than wiping the slate clean and starting over, the designers have retained the existing layout and recycled the signature materials, namely wood and brass, using the former for wall and ceiling panelling and the latter for bespoke furnishings. The reuse of the building materials was part of the project’s focus on craftsmanship, which saw MESURA collaborating with a team of local artisans to complement the minimalist elegance of their design with a hand-crafted sensibility. Case in point, the cast-in-situ terrazzo flooring (a blend of marble, quartz, granite and glass chips mixed on-site with a cement and polymer-based binder) featuring a distinctive geometric pattern of white marble tiles. White and tan fabrics complement the natural wood, marble and terrazzo surfaces, while providing softer textures.
The muted colour palette is boldly punctured by large areas swathed in navy blue in various materials and textures, whose rounded contours echo the arched doorway, spherical lamps and other circular details. The choice of dark blue alludes to the restaurant’s intimate relationship with the Mediterranean Sea, as well as evokes, in combination with the timber finishes, a seafaring vibe – thankfully without the need for any literal references or maritime iconography. Effortlessly elegant and playfully sophisticated, MESURA’s interior design is at its heart “an ode to the life of the local fishermen from the past, and those still bringing in the fish today”.