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Oval, Hamburgers & More

Budget design

By Brian Gallagher 17.09.13

A new restaurant interior constructed on a limited budget but nonetheless resourceful and imaginative within its programmatic and financial limitations. Oval consists of some 200 m2 situated on the ground floor of a late 19th Century in the Eixample Izquierdo district of Barcelona, the juncture of C. Valencia and Enric Granados an area that is gradually becoming a centre of gastronomic resurgence with Cornelia & Co., the recently opened Toto and the Futami Japanese restaurant all within a few hundred metres radius.

Specialising in burgers the gastronomic offering is high-concept, diners are presented with a questionnaire on arrival at their table where they can create their very own burger, everything from the type of bun, the dressings, the sauces, the condiments and side dishes etc. The waiter service and sound system reinforce the high-end take on this the most democratic of dishes. Oval is also however a place where customers can have the first drink of the evening after dining, it opens till 0.30am during the week and an hour later as the weekends.

  • Oval's dining area with its mix of tables and recycled furniture

  • The front facade in C. Valencia

    Designed by Mallorca based firm FlexoArquitectura, the layout is divided into separate zones including a set back covered inside/outside smokers’ terrace at the entrance, the linear bar counter with a row of tables opposite defines the lobby with its oversized circular table at the entrance and the rear area with its mix of timber banquette seating and free-standing tables. The kitchen and toilets are accommodated at the very back and within an annexe tucked behind the bar respectively.

  • All interior services are exposed

    The original 19th Century materials and character of the space form the basis for the refurbishment project. Four metre high ceilings, stripped back brick walls and uncovered cast iron columns are combined with more ephemeral finishes like untreated plywood panels, painted terracotta cavity insulation bricks and industrial acoustic panels on the ceiling. The furniture and lighting are equally resourceful, with off-cuts from the timber tables combined with recycled chair and stool structures (sourced from Els Encants) to provide the main seating which nevertheless manages to remain coherent throughout. Angle poise lamps are cantilevered off a linear plywood shelf, conduits are exposed for wall lamps while suspended light fittings are provided over the tables at the rear. The industrial theme is reinforced by the polished concrete floor, the steel profile folding entrance doors and the air-conditioning ducts.

  • Open air space at Oval's entrance

    The owners researched the project in Los Angeles, California where the burger is revered as a genuinely autochthonous delicacy. The design incorporates distinctive graphics for the menus, careful food presentation on bamboo trays, warm lighting and a pleasant aural environment that at no point becomes invasive or distracting, an important aspect of a restaurant like this that required the correct acoustic insulation.

  • Cladding including exposed brick, timber and sound insulation panels

  • Oval's toilets

  • Food is presented on bamboo trays

  • Invent your own hamburger at Oval

  • Oval S.L.
  • C/ Valencia 199, 08007 Barcelona, España
  • FlexoArquitectura (Tomeu Ramis, Aixa del Rey and Barbara Vich)
  • Oval Photos; José Hevia