Samfaina is a Catalan restaurant located in an historical two floor villa on Fuxing Lu, in Shanghai’s Former French Concession, one of China’s most well know neighborhoods.

The chef has a wide range of cooking styles, from traditional Catalan to a contemporary expression of Spanish molecular cuisine.

We were requested to apply this philosophy to the interior design, creating distinct areas for different dining experiences.

The previous owners mistakenly chose to cover up most of the original details of this old house. Our first line of work was to uncover its originality and expose what once was after which point, the villa was divided into five different areas.

The first floor is dedicated solely to Bar Sifón. It works as a reception area, as well as holding bar for pre-dinner drinks. The design is modern, and creates a welcoming atmosphere. We used raw materials: terrazzo for the floor and bar, non-treated iron for the shelving and stairs and natural white marble for the bar top, along with a whimsical wall collage for a bit of playfulness.

From the bar, a staircase walks the customers to the second floor. It is hidden behind a white wall that acts as a delineation between the bar and dining spaces. A few openings were created to gain volume and create a color contrast.

The Cellar area is the first space on the second floor. It is set up as the “fine dining” area of the restaurant, where dishes are paired with a wide collection of premium Spanish wines. Here, the wine list is specifically designed, and customers can walk in the cellar with the sommelier to select their wine. The use of wood, fabric chairs and wine cases, together with a softer lighting makes the space more intimate and sophisticated.

The main dining room is divided in two areas. The left side is more contemporary, opened and cold, delivering a “loft” feeling. The floor is made of a continuous terrazzo pavement that creates a walkway to the terrace. It’s a flexible space, tables can be arranged for couples or large groups. The pendant lamps enclose the space creating a virtual ceiling. The right side was elevated to create a more private dining area. Wood partitions and soft benches welcome the more classical approach of the chef’s cuisine.

At the end of the room, we designed a live cooking station where creative tar tars are made to order. This area uses aseptic materials suitable to manipulate raw ingredients. A few seats surround the cooking station allowing a “japanese” bar experience.

Outside, a large terrace welcomes the customers for al fresco dining in a Spanish patio atmosphere. Hanging strip lights remind one of small villages in the summer time, and a wood and iron structure with integrated flower pots blocks the noise from the street.


Completion Date: September 2013
Area: 350 sqm