Choosing a theme for a restaurant is as difficult as picking a name for a newborn baby. You want something unique — but not so odd that people can’t even recognize it as a restaurant. A good theme also has to withstand the test of time, which itself seems to be moving faster with each passing day. Finally, the theme must appeal to a diverse clientele.

Caspalata Restaurant in Seville has flawlessly checked all of those boxes, much to the delight of the two flourishing young restaurateurs who opened it. The duo chose the top designers at Madrid’s Lucas y Hernández-Gil to transform a former coffee shop into an upscale restaurant and cocktail bar.

Finding Inspiration

The designers quickly agreed that they wanted to take a fresh approach to the project without having the décor overshadow the quality of the dining experience. They strove to foster a distinctive, simple, alluring, tranquil, and comfortable environment that lent itself to individual interpretation. After extensive brainstorming and research, the team found inspiration in the paintings of artist Giorgio Morandi.

The Morandi Influence

Giorgio Morandi, a 20th-century still-life artist whose paintings are perhaps most famous for their tonal nuance, had a unique style that generally put vividly-colored household objects such as vases and bowls against soft backdrops. Following that fascinating color scheme, the Lucas y Hernández-Gil designers opted to create a light gray canvas on the walls and floors of Caspalata and use brightly-colored furniture and accessories to create an incredibly magnetic environment. Subtle curios in a wide range of colors are strategically placed around each room, themselves illuminated by softly glowing lights and vibrant green plants. The result is a combination that gives the restaurant a fresh, cozy ambiance in a huge pool of tranquil gray.

The Process

The design team began the project by removing the original paint from all the walls and then covering them with a smooth, thin coat of concrete. The floors were already bare concrete, though the designers did buff them to a smooth, muted finish. Next, they built a partition with a large porthole in the center that just begs to be peeked through as you pass by. The view through the porthole is of another dining room with a perfectly centered long timber table surrounded by lemon mousse-colored chairs. The petal-pink walls in here are coated with colored gypsum: a soft mineral typically used in plaster and blackboard chalk.

Other rooms pair a gray background with perforated seafoam green tables of all shapes and sizes, which themselves are complemented by cherry and salmon-colored seats. Finishing touches include oversized halo-shaped light fixtures and circular mirrors that mimic the central porthole, both of which have been scattered throughout the dining rooms. Above, exposed metal piping gives the ceiling a capricious veneer.

The Goal

Lucas y Hernández-Gil strive to create an atmosphere of elemental cohesion in all their work. In the case of the Caspalata Restaurant refurbishment, they sought to have customers enjoy the ultimate culinary experience by keeping the background in the background and letting the food take center stage, effectively “blurring the lines of the environment to focus on what is within reach.”