Bar and Leisure Focus: Bardem and Chicken Mafia


A cocktail bar in Helskini and an upscale fast food in Moscow


Words by Toby Maxwell

Bardem cocktail bar has quickly become the new go-to place for fans of cultivated bar culture in the heart of Helsinki. The independent interior concept is the work of local design studio Fyra, and its modern interpretation is based on the principle of a speakeasy bar. Fyra played with the combination of old and new, and focused on a large, central bar in the discreetly lit atmospheric room.

Bardem is located in a high-end part of the city. The idea of owners Hans Välimäki and Arto Rastas was to create a trendy and modern destination for night owls. At the same time, they wanted to appeal to the classic after-work crowd, seeking a relaxed atmosphere at the end of a working day.

For Fyra, the challenge was to transform a two-storey former sales area into a lively bar space. They decided to centre the room around a large bar and make it the heart of the entire interior concept. The curves of the bar were covered with wooden panels with a light, honey-coloured finish, while carefully arranged spirits and stylish, painting-like wall decorations complement the large bar counter.

The subversive appeal of a speakeasy bar is enhanced by the subdued, atmospheric lighting and the dark colours of the interior. A curtain-like navy blue background conveys a touch of classic theatre charm, while deeply upholstered furniture invites guests to sink in and relax. The interior combines old and new in a natural way, and curtains and newly-upholstered recycled furniture lend the room softness and intimacy.

A special highlight on the wall was created by Fyra with the help of ceramic tiles, which were produced by long-time firing in a classic tunnel kiln. ‘The tiles play an important part in our interior concept as they bring life to the dark, dimly-lit room,’ said Laura Järvinen, the interior designer in charge of the project. ‘The high-gloss surface perfectly harmonises with the soft shapes and materials we used in this bar. We also arranged the tiles in several horizontal rows, and used a colour gradient to create a perfect visual link between floor and ceiling.’

The ceramic tile series Craft, from Agrob Buchtal, is a collection that, in combination with firing temperature and open flames, produces bright and intense colours. Craft is available in different variants and colours but Fyra chose Mid-Grey, Olive Green Flamed and Benit Blue. The centrally inserted strip tiles with wave profile (also in olive green) give the wall a rhythmic three-dimensional structure, and create different visual effects, depending on the angle of the light. The upholstery of the bench, the wall lamps and the folds of the multilayered curtain hanging above it adapt the texture of the strip tile format. The result is a new, stylish yet casual cocktail bar, and a unique, harmonious work of art.
fyra.fi/en | agrob-buchtal.de


Project: Chicken Mafia Moscow

Architecture and design studio Gretaproject was tasked with creating a light, vibrant and cosy interior for a high-quality fast food restaurant in Moscow. The brief was for an interior that had to be light, provocative, fashionable, playful and take customers to the homeland of fast food: the US.

This image Chicken Mafia is designed to be a high-end evocation of US fast food restaurants. Image Credit: MIKHAIL LOSKUTOV
Chicken Mafia is designed to be a high-end evocation of US fast food restaurants. Image Credit: MIKHAIL LOSKUTOV

The interior concept is a transformation and refraction of a simple 220m2 area through reimagining the ceiling, walls and furniture. Central to the design was the installation of ‘waves’, to introduce geometric visual interest within what would have otherwise been a conventional space.

Gretaproject made ripples and curves a theme in the project, opting for a slatted ceiling that undulates like an inverted wooden wave. Image Credit: MIKHAIL LOSKUTOV
Gretaproject made ripples and curves a theme in the project, opting for a slatted ceiling that undulates like an inverted wooden wave. Image Credit: MIKHAIL LOSKUTOV

The architects – Gretaproject’s Margarita Denisova, Maxim Kashin and Natalia Karpova – chose plywood as an affordable and warm material to complete the idea – Moscow’s cold climate dictates its own laws when choosing materials for public catering. Wood could also easily match the geometry of the waves. Metallic reflective surfaces with ripples were selected as a counterpoint, showing the sophistication of wood forms and the simplicity of the metallic ones. The concrete floor and walls also set off and accentuate the wood.

New York-style neon lighting imbues the food and the experience with a US-imported spirit. Image Credit: MIKHAIL LOSKUTOV
New York-style neon lighting imbues the food and the experience with a US-imported spirit. Image Credit: MIKHAIL LOSKUTOV

The Chicken Mafia logo represents the tattoos of the restaurant owners, and is a symbol that is reflected in the look of the restaurant: the drawings on the bathroom walls, the neon inscriptions and the choice of Vitra Wire Chair DKR-model mesh chairs.
gretaproject.com








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