Haf Studio transformed a 1960s building in the Icelandic capital to create Mat Bar, which serves a combination of Italian and Nordic cuisine. The history of the original building, as well as the surrounding restaurants, provided the starting point for the design.
“We were inspired by the local cafes and bars, still in their original state since the 60s and wanted to recreate that friendly atmosphere where the interior design plays its role in bringing people closer together,” said the studio.
The team selected bold monochrome tiles for the flooring, mirrors with rounded edges for the walls and circular brass ceiling lights.
At the rear, a curved bar features a green base and golden top, providing a continuation to the paintwork on the lower portion of the walls. Blackened metal shelves hang down from the ceiling over the bar.
The overhaul of the building at Hverfisgata 26 also included opening up a blocked window to allow diners views of Iceland’s National Theatre and bring plenty of daylight into the space.
The Italian-Nordic concept behind Mat Bar is the brainchild of Guðjón Hauksson, who had previously worked in Italy.
Haf Studio‘s Hafsteinn Júlíusson said the fusion dishes on the menu also formed a key part of the studio’s eclectic design choices.
“The underlying theme in the interior was Italy meets the Nordic,” studio designer Hafsteinn Júlíusson told Dezeen.
“The new Nordics pragmatism with a healthy dose of Italian and Mediterranean charm.”
The bar counter is topped with Italian marble, while other materials are chosen to age well. Brown leather is used to upholster built-in benches and the bar stools, while tables are made of oak and dining seats blackened steel.
Local craftsman were tasked to custom-make the furniture and lighting for the space, which is also furnished with square oak tables.
Norm Architects also paired styles for an Italian restaurant in Copenhagen, which has a Danish twist.
Architecture firm Snøhetta took another approach for Nordic restaurant in Copenhagen, using microscopic studies of the city’s foods and beer to develop the colour and material palette.
Photography is by Gunnar Sverrisson.
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