Interior Design. Cafe-Gallery, Camagüey, Cuba, 2014.
This is a café that can be transformed to an art gallery.
Like several of my other projects, the purpose behind this design project was to refunctionalise an interior space. It had been a grocery store during the Spanish colonial period in Cuba, it then became a house for living, before I was asked to try to transform it into a café-art gallery.
The harmony between different materials defines the aesthetics of the interior architecture. When you enter the space the most eye-catching element is a mezzanine built of concrete with a bar below. The floor, made of polished cement, is in harmony with the mezzanine because their materials are visually resembling each other.
The other central element in the space when it comes to mixing various materials, is the use of iron in combination with fiberglass and reusable wood. The stairs to the mezzanine are made of iron, while the mezzanine’s railings are made of iron and fiberglass. The wooden doors and Miami-windows have iron frames, and so do the black wooden panels used to divide the space.
The black wooden panels are vital to the café/gallery. When it is a café, they separate the kitchen from the area for costumers. Moreover, the panels enable the transformation of the venue from café to gallery. They are then used to reshape the room by covering the bar counter, as well as expanding the gallery by making the area where there otherwise is a kitchen disappear. In the gallery the covered bar counter becomes a structure that you can walk around looking at art displayed on the wooden black panels.
Stackable seats and folding tables also enable the transformation of the venue. The chair seats and the tabletops are both made of reusable wood, making the visual result coherent.
The refunctionalised space is contained within a small area. It is only 19 m². The panels increase the surface for art in the gallery. The mezzanine increases the seating area in the café, which was planned to serve 20 seated customers comfortably.
The modern touch of the café-gallery contributed to the revitalization of the square Plaza del Carmen in Camagüey city, which was under restoration at the time.
Assistant designer: Leandro Luján Milián.