Farang Restaurant in the building of the Recording House

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“Constructed in 1938, the building on Malaya Nikitskaya has served music all its life,” the architects say. “It was built as a Recording House, a place of worship for musicians of several generations. In addition to excellent acoustics, the 415 m2 restaurant has inherited golden cornices and capitals, stucco molding, a cast-iron grating at the entrance and coffered ceilings.”

What to do with all this property, Aleksey Pinsky came up with. The restaurateur came to the Wowhaus team, with whom he worked on the interior of Regent by Rico, with a ready-made idea and even with the name of the restaurant – Farang. This word of Persian origin denotes a foreigner, mainly a European. “The word appeared in response to the need to name and recognize aliens who once penetrated everyday life,” the authors of the project explain. “It traveled with its bearers and spread throughout South and Southeast Asia.” Thus, reflections on the caravan routes that once formed the idea of ​​Asia about Europe and Europe about Asia appeared at the center of the restaurant’s concept.

In order to fit into the overall composition of the architectural elements left from the historic Recording House, the architects placed a 1950s stained glass window at the entrance: “It refers to Venice as an Italian reflection of the East.” At the main door, in front of the historical lattice, there is an installation in the form of a column with mirror lamellas. As you move into the main hall, you can see the waiter’s station – the pattern on its decorative lattice was taken from the historical lattice at the main entrance.

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The authors of the project made the kitchen area the brightest spot of Farang: “In its design, we tried to convey the heat of the hearth, around which the life of the oriental bazaar unfolds. Two tandoors are painted gold, and a small golden square tile has received a new interpretation: often ordinary (“low”), in a new context it takes on a different meaning and rather resembles a Byzantine mosaic – smalt.”

The second point of attraction is the bar zone. It is made of tiles produced in Tatarstan according to ancient technologies using traditional oriental motifs. The mezzanine floor with private areas offers a more secluded and quiet environment. The space of two floors is united by a five-meter carpet – a traditional symbol of well-being and luxury in the Middle East and Central Asia. It is handmade, framed with a golden frame, and you can see the restaurant logo in the pattern.

All furniture, except for the chairs and part of the sofas, and the light are completely drawn by the architects. “Massive columns are accentuated by vertical lamps,” Wowhaus points out, “this is a kind of homage to the Moroccan lighting palette with its nightlights and subdued lighting. Glass flasks for the second floor were bought at the vintage market: the flasks came from a glass factory that had already ceased to exist, lamps were invented on their basis.” And to give the space an oasis-like feel, the architects added greenery — ficuses in specially designed tall pots refer to palm trees and desert mirages.

“Purpose kitsch and flirting with the iconic images of the East continue in the restrooms,” the authors of the project note. — In addition to images of tigers and leopards, on the golden ceiling there are motifs from shunga, a medieval Japanese erotic engraving.

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But that’s not all. “For Farang, we came up with our own cipher based on the visual images of writing in Arabic, Turkic, Sumerian languages,” says the Wowhaus team. “Aleksey Pinsky even provided us with specialized literature on the historical context of the Silk Road.” The results of the experiment are painted on the walls of the restaurant: semi-disappearing signs symbolize the writing of an unfamiliar, as if foreign language, which for a stranger means something mysterious and incomprehensible.

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