A mix of crumbling Doric columns, textured stucco walls and the national blue-and-white colour scheme ticks all the boxes for a typical Greece-inspired scheme. But for the latest establishment in the portfolio of restaurateur Thanasis Skopelitis, settling on the expected was simply not an option. Joined by her business colleague Ana Cañete, who is responsible for brand and product development, Thanasis made contact with Masquespacio, one of Spain’s most outside-the-box design offices. They briefed the designers to craft the look and feel of the first Egeo restaurant in Valencia, challenging them to remix classic Greek design tropes with the unconventional flair for which they are well known.
The move into Valencia marks the next step in Thanasis’ chain of Egeo souvlaki restaurants, building upon two already established venues in Madrid. Offering generous servings of skewer-grilled meat and vegetables, the Greek restaurants boast a strong following of food-loving locals whose loyalty is hoped to be replicated on Spain’s southeastern coast. “When Ana and Thanasis commented to us that they wanted to open an Egeo in Valencia, we were immediately excited about the idea,” enthuses Christophe Penasse, one of Masquespacio’s two founders.
Egeo Greek restaurant in Valencia by Masquespacio
Having long felt a “special connection” with the history of Greek culture and cuisine, Christophe and his associate, Ana Milena Hernández, say that the opportunity to develop the new restaurant was something of a bucket-list item now struck from their agenda. “We have long been keen to develop a Greek restaurant,” admits Christophe, who says the biggest challenge the studio faced in designing the new restaurant was that the clients didn’t want “a huge change” from their first venues in Madrid. Rather, Thanasis and Ana were seeking something that could give continuity to Egeo’s pre-existing interior design identity.
“If you follow our work, you know that we like to break with the existing [so] it was a huge challenge for us to respect their minimalistic Greek design and at the same time offer a different experience,” Christophe reveals. In response, Masquespacio maintained Egeo’s trademark blue and white colour palette. But in an effort to bring the diner “closer to Greece”, the studio applied to the walls of the restaurant a beautiful “cementish” finish, similar to the material that defines the vernacular architecture of the Greek islands. “We tried to materialise Greece in the space,” Christophe’s colleague Ana adds, “further than just using the usual white and blue colour palette.”
The shapes to which the stucco-like finish is applied take the form of organic wall sculptures, becoming one of the signature features of the space. The designers say this decorative effect continues the search to represent the essence of Greek architecture, traditionally shaped from wood and mud and centred around a garden or courtyard – a heritage that’s honoured in the design of the restaurant. The most stand-out element, however, is a series of blue-painted Greek columns in a deliberately deteriorated condition. “The question we asked ourselves with the introduction of the columns was: how do we modernise this traditional Greek architecture element that is represented in a classical state in Greek restaurants all around the world?” Ana says.
Her question was resolved by bringing the columns to life in the most modern way she and Christophe knew how. They were manufactured through cutting-edge 3D printing technology and coloured a deep indigo blue – a significant departure from the famously ancient Doric columns of the Parthenon. At the same time, LED tubes were added to link together the intentionally broken pieces of each structure. The typically cool white colour of the LEDs was challenged and tweaked, as was the production technique, making them a contemporary element produced with 21st-century know-how.
From furniture to light fittings, many similar shapes to those that Masquespacio has employed in the past make an appearance at Egeo Valencia. Reborn in crisp shades of white and blue, the pieces feel fresh while also bringing to the table lashings of Christophe and Ana’s inimitable style. They’re joined by chunky slab-like counters, raw timber stools – as though sliced straight from a tree – and Corfu-style pots of all sizes. “Last but not least, the order bar was situated in the middle of the space with the aim to recreate a bustling environment,” Christophe explains. Positioned beside a glowing grid of overhead lighting, the bar echoes the overarching goal of the fit-out: transporting diners to a place where they feel they’re ordering dishes of delectable souvlaki, Christophe says, “from a mobile kiosk in the middle of a Greek market”.
When Ana and Thanasis commented to us that they wanted to open an Egeo in Valencia, we were immediately excited about the idea.
Love the Egeo Greek restaurant in Valencia by Masquespacio? In Italy, Masquespacio also designed the Bun burger restaurant in Milan and in Turin. Catch up on more hospitality architecture and design and retail design, plus subscribe to receive the Daily Architecture News e-letter direct to your inbox.