Project Name: Yaffo\Tel Aviv
Architects: BK Architects
Year of Completion: 2011
Assigned work by the widely acclaimed and premier celebrity chef of Israel, Haim Cohen, the brief comprised the design of his restaurant in Tel Aviv. Haim Cohen’s ideology and philosophy when it comes to his culinary prowess takes root in Israel’s culinary traditions, which depicts an amalgamation of many. Cohen is inspired by this, and deems it as a starting point, and with his ingenuity in innovating, depiction of inherent characteristics, and encompassing simplicity, his culinary presentations reinvent the original, yet represent traditions.
With Cohen’s core working philosophy in place, BK Architects opted to derive from the same, the conceptual design for the restaurant, to mould the space into a portrayal of its owner and user. Therefore, one of the design decisions include opting for the usage of primer building materials, indicating simplicity and honesty, with raw and ordinary finishes. Akin to Cohen’s ideology, these elements serve as the starting point.
The envelop of the restaurant makes use of basic materials; water, cement, aggregates and steel, a typical ensemble for buildings in a traditional sense. Moreover, the design aims to signify the materials as direct symbols of Cohen’s own basic ingredients; water, flour and olive oil. The walls of the envelope, constituting exposed concrete, has been polished to achieve a finish which reveals the true nature of the stone aggregates. The floor and ceiling in concrete, however, have been left without alterations.
Further derivations from the culinary world form the basis of design elements, taking inspiration from the fusion of varying ingredients, sourced from all over the globe. Similarly, within the design, for instance, there is a patch work of Turkish carpets, which are hung along the walls of the restaurant, which epitomizes a cultural kaleidoscope. Every carpet has unique origins, with varying stories, identities and homelands. They emblemize Old Yaffo and its own traditional roots, of a multicultural and multinational ethos, shrouded in harmony.
Facing the west façade are tall shutters, made in poplar wood, invigorating an enthralling play of light and shade upon the internal walls, reminiscent of the quintessential alleys of Old Yaffo. The space is complemented by Piet Hein Eek scrap-wood chairs and tables, with second-hand furniture pieces and outdoor light ‘bells’, sourced from Czech Republic, thereby invoking the essence of a cultural melting pot. The resplendent visual is made complete with the poured terrazzo of the alcohol bar, along with the raw metal winery, as the design distinguishes them from the kitchen which is a lively, open kitchen. The idea behind the open kitchen represents embodiment of hospitality, where guests are welcome to view the culinary marvels, which in itself is a show. Nothing has been left out, or been disclosed, and the stainless-steel tops become a huge dining bar.
The Yaffo\Tel Aviv is an exemplary ideal in designing not solely for the users, but as an extension of a person whose endeavours to ignite its existence. While based on the core philosophy of the client, Haim Cohen, it also seeks to depict the traditions of Old Yaffo, which enriching the experience by adding elements sourced from distant lands, thereby enhancing the whole experience.
BK Architects was established in 1999, by Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz. Based out of Tel Aviv and Amsterdam, the strength of their team lies in the multicultural origins of their architects and interior designers, all hailing from different regions of the world, their perspectives and experiences contributing to harmonious, cohesive and innovative designs
Their practice is based in architecture and interior design within lifestyle venues, which intend to distinguish their clients, and aid in inspiring the hearts and minds of the end users. The designs stem from ideology of storytelling, creating concepts, spaces and products. Their endeavour lies to understand differing contexts, and eventually highlighting them to create experiences and not solely entities. With careful consideration to the existing, focus lies on enhancing.
-Devashree Vyas, Volume Zero.