The story of ENIGMA, in Barcelona, started with renowned Catalan chef Albert Adrià’s vision to create an ‘out of this world and enigmatic’ restaurant, able to reflect his cuisine and 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, the well-known Spanish company of Sintered Stone.
Through a close collaboration and a multiple know-how, Neolith and RCR for ENIGMA project, Barcelonathe charming interior of ENIGMA was created.
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 Neolith’s proprietary digital printing decoration technology NDD (Neolith Digital Design), it was possible to re-create the design onto slabs, producing a perfect replica of the drawing.
The floor presented the biggest challenge because of its sheer size.
Each slab was unique and had to be perfectly put together in order to deliver a continuous design. However, the only way to get a full picture of the puzzle required some creative problem-solving and a change of perspective.
Neolith initially installed the entire floor off-site and used a drone to take images from above, thus ensuring that there were no inconsistencies.
RCR Arquitectes/P. Llimona designed an organic space full of curves and narrow aisles and required the slabs to be cut down into six smaller pieces, the smallest being only 3 cm wide. The absolute precision was the key to guarantee the uniformity of the watercolour design.
Taking inspiration from a map, a coordinate system was put into place, uniquely labelling every single slab to know its exact position in the project. This way, the installers on location were able to piece the interior together like a puzzle.