new york city-based studio cadena has designed masa, a new restaurant in a northern residential neighborhood of bogotá, colombia. built on the site of a former house, the 697 sqm (7,500 sqf) structure is characterized in its exterior by geometric cutout windows which adds to the playful, graphic quality of the space’s indoor-outdoor language.
studio cadena has organized the restaurant as a grouping of distinct but interconnected volumes, with a cafe and bakery on one corner, a central entrance area, and a dining volume and separate retail space. an outdoor patio space provides garden seating and connects the public spaces to the kitchen in the rear, while elements such as a long concrete bar, cylindrical wood-clad service station, and a multi-tiered seating platform at the entrance serve to modulate the space.
‘the idea is that everything is connected, but the spaces remain fragmented for intimacy,’ notes studio cadena founder and principal benjamin cadena, ‘in any space in the restaurant you might hear or smell things that give a sense of the adjacent spaces, but it isn’t completely open. the design defines distinct spatial volumes yet allows you to move through them with the freedom of an open plan.’
the playfulness of the geometric windows continues in the custom-made surfaces, fixtures, and furniture, and sculptural lighting designs serve to distinguish the different volumes – large paper globes light the corner café, while hand-painted metal mesh hung from the ceiling catches the natural light in the middle volume. the walls are made of textured, cast-in-place concrete, combined with large terrazzo tiles on the floor.
‘this project’s indoor-outdoor continuity is intentional, but presents a challenge in bogotá, where the weather is perennial spring or fall, and can be cold, chilly, or wet,’ says cadena, ‘in this case we wanted to be sure that you could always feel the presence of what’s being made here, and that the space remained open to itself and to the street, and was inviting to the city.’