From the designer:
The story of ENIGMA started with renowned Catalan chef Albert Adrià’s vision to create an ‘out of this world and enigmatic’ restaurant project that was to reflect his cuisine as well as his career. His vision took shape when 2017 Pritzker Prize winners RCR Arquitectes drew their design idea in watercolours and decided to bring it to life with the help of Neolith by TheSize, manufacturer and designer of Sintered Stone. Through an incredibly creative and close collaboration, as well as Neolith’s expertise and technical know-how, the enchanting, out of this world interior of ENIGMA was created.
Having worked on the design proposal for three years, Adrià wanted to ensure the perfect outcome for his passion project. The chef wanted to create an immersive environment to captivate his guests. The chef’s style of cooking and menu is heavily influenced by the surroundings, hence, the interior had to reflect that.
From paper to slab
The pivotal moment in terms of design came when RCR in collaboration with architect Pau Llimona drew a watercolour painting in the size of two A3 papers, which was to be applied to the floors, walls, bathrooms, kitchen worktops, cabinetry and air extraction systems. However, a watercolour design has not been done on Sintered Stone before, thus posing an unprecedented challenge. Carlos Garcia, Product Designer at TheSize explains: “We had to expand the original design, all the while trying not to lose the quality of definition offered by the original drawing. Each pixel was equal to two meters of final floor.” Through R&D, Neolith developed the technology to re-create the design onto slabs, producing a perfect replica of the drawing.
Once this was achieved, an exact colour match had to be sourced, as the required green and blue tones are unusual hues for sintered surfaces. The intensity of the colours had to fit in with the other materials and decorations throughout the restaurant as to achieve a unified environment, fully submerging diners. Using Neolith’s proprietary digital printing decoration technology NDD (Neolith Digital Design), the architect’s design brief was fully met.
The architects wanted every slab to be of irregular texture like Neolith’s Riverwashed, but with a subtle shine to provide a surface that is multisensory - interesting to the eye and inviting to touch. “Neolith is a contemporary material with many properties. We have been so surprised by its possibilities that we are now using it for other projects”, RCR explain.