On Top Of The Culinary World!

August 9, 2011

As often we do, we sat yesterday evening poured a cup of tea, opened our coffee table book on architecture and began a discussion on design, our chosen topic was restaurant design. A common element to our discussion was about the lack of rustic and charming designs within this region. Of course by powers of deduction we put that down to the fact that within this region (UAE) we have few old, rustic or charming buildings. Everything is so new, so chic and so pristine. I am not doing the industry a disservice, not by any means, there is a great deal to love about the restaurant designs of the UAE, and many of which we do love, but sometimes little adds to a lovely meal more than a cosy, intimate and charmed environment.

As the tea cups emptied and the debate dwindled we put the television on to switch off for a few hours and catch up with the “Masterchef” finale. Not long into the show our debate was enflamed again as one of the shows feature chefs was from the world renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark. During chef René Redzepi’s 30 second promo and introduction we caught a tantalising glimpse into his restaurant and I thought to myself, I simple have to feature the design of this project on our blog.

We instantly feel the charm that surrounds Noma by the exterior of the restaurant which is something quite rare with restaurant design. Noma is situated in a beautiful 200 year old warehouse on the waterfront of the Christianshavn neighbourhood of central Copenhagen. We highlight this fact as it brings us round to our earlier point that in this region we do not have 200 year old buildings in which to build in, which is a great shame as the environment they host can lead to gorgeous designs such as the Noma restaurant.

Noma was designed by Architect and Designer Signe Bindslev-Henriksen, she has transferred the exterior charm of the building and incorporated it seamlessly into the interior by designing a space reflective of 18th Century Scandinavia. One of the major features about this design that we enjoy the most is its almost understated and underwhelming finishes.

The design is not in slightest part garish or opulent it is very subtle almost boring but that is where the beauty lies. The simple yet romantic and exact lighting that bounces of the bare exposed wooden beams provides warmth that many modern environments strive for.

The naked beams add the character to the space that high ceilinged open planned spaces lack, the sense of closeness and intimacy can be felt simply by staring at the pictures of the restaurant when it is empty. Imagine how it would feel to be there on a busting winter’s night when it is full to capacity. The seating is basic, the tables are bland, yet the woods used are divine, the walls are bear, the windows are ordinary but for some reason this again adds to its appeal. The appeal comes from the ordinary; we feel that this is because having the confidence to be plain, simple and ordinary can ironically lead to results that are extraordinary. The best thing about this environment is that it does not confuse, it does not pretend nor does it mask any failings, the nakedness and openness of this interior design allows the real centrepiece to take precedent and that is the food, the wine, the service, all the accompanying elements that make Noma the best restaurant in the world two years in a row.

Here are some of the best photos we have found on the project, you can really see how crisp and charming the archaic design is. The design receives even greater favour in our eyes as it was opened in 2004, a time when the nouveau chic or contemporary restaurants and brassieres were coming to the fore, the designers went against the grain and opted for this stunning yet simple space and boy do we love it.

Noma has the prestigious honour of having won the best restaurant in the world for two years running at the San Pellegrino awards run by The Restaurant magazine.

Signe Bindslev-Henriksen is the owner and co founder of Architecture and Interior Design firm SPACE Copenhagen