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Rus in urbs: Spanish grasslands inspire Binom Architects’ Islington restaurant fit-out


The design aims to bring a sense of the dehesa – a grassland habitat for grazing animals – to central London

Working to refit out a family-run Spanish restaurant in Islington, north London-based practice Binom Architects looked to draw on ideas of the landscape from where much of the food for the restaurant is sourced. 

This is from the southern area of Extremadura where the for generations the family has reared livestock, including acorn-fed pigs. The area is a grassland habitat, known in Spanish as dehesa and Binom’s design was intended to instil a feeling of this ‘open, semi-barren yet atmospheric and beautiful environment’. 

The interior design employs a combination of rough textures such as painted brick and woven steel mesh with glossy glazed ceramics above the bar, intended to represent this mixture of the urban and rural.

Binom Architects Llerena restaurant  image 10

Llerena Restaurant by Binom Architects

The lighting scheme can be changed from a gentle one relying more on natural daylight to one making full use of the back-lit panels at night, which have been designed using images of the dehesa fields. 

The restaurant seats up to 40 people with tapas served in the bar area. Binom has designed the restaurant tables, the long concrete bar that is visible from the street and the lighting feature above it, made of ceramic pots, some which have downlighting integrated within them. All the ceramics for the piece were sourced from a workshop in Salvatierra de los Barros, with Binom using Rhino 3D modelling to help design and assemble it.

Binom Architects Dehesa Fields Chandelier axo

Llerena Restaurant by Binom Architects

Chandelier axonometric

Architect’s view

As Spanish architects working for nearly 10 years with our practice based in London, this has been a special project for us. We have enjoyed referencing traditions from Spain, like the earthy colour palette, within the restaurant interior and seeing how these can be integrated into something that sits comfortably in central London. We have deliberately appropriated and abstracted such references to avoid creating what can too easily feel like a themed interior. We hope that our own awe of the dehesa, a unique agricultural landscape with its wildlife, comes across in this project.

Marta Granda Nistal, director and co-founder, Binom Architects

Binom Architects Llerena restaurant  image 9

Llerena Restaurant by Binom Architects

Source: Ioana Marinescu

Project data

Start on site September 2017
Completion April 2018
Gross internal floor area 67m² (ground floor), 65m² (basement)
Form of contract or procurement route JCT
Construction cost £100,000 including furniture and fittings
Construction cost per m² £900
Architect Binom Architects
Client Jamon y Salud
M&E consultant Garcia Consulting
Lighting consultant SEAM Design
Approved building inspector MLM
Main contractor Maferman


Readers' comments (2)

  • The strongest reference looks to be to the edible delicacies hanging over a traditional tapas bar, but possibly not allowed in Islington.

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  • The headline should be 'Rus in urbe' ... 'urbs' is nominative not ablative ...

    Yep, Romanes ite domum :)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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