Contemporary restaurants are in high demand. Focusing on offering guests culinary experiences, rather than just ordinary meals, these modern eateries are taking over major cities around the world.

A new restaurant and cocktail bar in Barcelona, Spain, known as El Mama y La Papa, is a unique addition to the city’s gastronomic offerings. “In El Mama, we want to offer a journey around the world through its flavors,” the website explains, encouraging future guests to “get comfortable, open your senses and enjoy this unique experience.”

Aside from its tantalizing menu — offering an “opposites attract” approach with “El Mama” entrees and “La Papa” desserts — the vibrant colors and eccentric design of the space are what draws you in.

Designed by local architects Oliver Franz Schmidt, Natali Canas del Pozo and Lucas Echeveste Lacy of Barcelona-based interior design firm, El Equipo Creativo, El Mama is “a space which plays with duality and the mixture of opposites.”

“The protagonists are two large bars, El Mama and La Papa, facing one another with a dance floor in between,” according to the designers. “Our client wanted to create a space which played upon duality and the mixture of opposites: man and woman, black and white, day and night.”

The expansive 5,400-square-foot space, which used to serve as a canning warehouse, spans two floors and has a lot of structural personality. “We wanted to emphasize this by painting it a bright red in order to unify the different areas,” the designers explained. “The design concept is based on the counter positioning of opposite elements, where each piece has its counterpoint. From the four corners of the almost-square area, you are welcomed by large neon signs. Facing each other in pairs, they display clear messages in the form of oxymorons: Never — Again; Peace — Force; Holy — Hell; Public — Secret.”

Two brick arcades, one white and one black, frame the two-level central space and serve as the background for the two bars facing each other. Next to the white arcade on the facade is “El Mama,” a 360-degree daytime bar, accented by wood details and tropical foliage. At the opposite end, under the black arcade, is the cocktail bar, known as “La Papa.” “With a black metallic industrial surface, La Papa offers the nocturnal counterpoint,” said the designers.

“On the two lateral sides of the space, we proposed structural platforms at different levels connected by a large catwalk-stage to generate multiple paths through the space,” they went on to say. “The different levels, once again facing each other, create more private areas reserved for events and even a ‘secret bar’ or speakeasy.”

The hip restaurant, which was completed last September, features newly polished wood walls and flooring, complemented by customized black and white mosaic tile flooring from Hisbalit Mosaic’s Art Factory collection. “We designed the 2cm articles and they produced them,” said the designer. “The world of contrasts is infinite.”


El Mama y La Papa restaurant

Barcelona, Spain

Architect: El Equipo Creativo, Barcelona, Spain
Tile Supplier: Hisbalit Mosaico, Soto de la Marina, Cantabria, Spain (Art Factory collection)