Barcelona-based studio Francesc Rifé has transformed a historical site in Valencia to house experimental contemporary restaurant Sucede, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Miguel Ángel Mayor. The new design retains old elements and pairs them in stark yet harmonious contrast to the new, storytelling both the site’s history and the restaurant’s ethos.

Diners are treated to an immersive experience, with the restaurant serving a dramatic culinary tribute to the history of Valencia, taking place across multiple rooms. The meal follows the structure of a traditional Roman banquet. The first course is served in a dining room with tables placed in front of a chefs ‘performance bar’ – more commonly referred to as an open kitchen. A glazed glass roof sits atop stained black oak slats, allowing natural light to filter through and cast interesting shadows across a muted khaki wall.

Remains of Valencia’s Arab wall, which delineated the perimeter of the city during the 12th century, feature throughout the restaurant as both sculptural objects and functional pieces. The foundations of its exterior façade are used to separate some rooms and enclose others, forming private spaces available to hire for meetings and small events.

To reach the lower level main dining room, guests must cross a translucent grey, smoked glass corridor that exposes the cellar below. A Gothic stone arch presides over the entrance, and symmetrical rows of ‘Half’ hanging lamps by Milan Illuminación work in tandem with strategic vertical skylight openings to create a warm glow. Tables are distributed peripherally, leaving the centre space open for chefs to work in front of guests preparing the ‘second act’ main course. Integrated spotlights illuminate the tables at certain points, just as in a stage performance.

Valencian ceramics dating from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, such as a haphazard row of traditional tiles, are displayed throughout the restaurant. Such archaic elements provide contrast and bring warmth to the monochrome, matte tonality and contemporary furnishings throughout, including Carl Hansen’s Wishbone chairs.

 

See more projects by Francesc Rifé Studio on Yellowtrace here.

 

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[Images courtesy of Francesc Rifé Studio. Photography by David Zarzoso.]

 

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