The town of l’Ametlla de Mar, near Tarragona, has always been a centre for tuna fishing. It is here that the Balfegò family founded its highly successful company based on the precious natural resource of bluefin tuna. The Balfegò family were the first to rear tuna and succeed in shifting from seasonal fishing to harvesting high quality fish all year round.
5 generations later, in 2002, the family founded the Balfegó Grup which, in 2017, opened a tunateca in Barcelona, where gourmets can enjoy a global experience of this precious resource and the world that surrounds it. This includes the chance to take part in a Kaitai ceremony in which a tuna weighting at least 100 kg is cut up according to a strict Japanese ritual.
The restaurant, designed by El Equipo Creativo is inspired by the colours, textures and light moods of the bluefin tuna’s habitat. To create these atmospheres the architects worked closely together with lighting designers from the artec3 Studio.
The aim of the resulting light system was to create different levels of immersion with delicate and dynamic lighting that would evoke the effects of sunlight filtered through water and the reflections created when sun rays meet the sea. The restaurant covers 300 square metres and is spread over two floors. The main room, the Diagonal, represents the sea and includes a central installation entitled “The school of fish”, which features a hundred or so acrylic fish hung from the ceiling. The fish are animated by reflections created by pendant and ceiling luminaires, mounted at different heights stipulated by the lighting designer and custom designed by iGuzzini. The warm colour temperature together with the light reflected by the blue curtains are reminiscent of a trawl net. The entire installation is operated by a DMX control system.
On the second floor there is a series of small, more intimate spaces. These include the room used for the Kaitai ceremony. In this area various materials have been chosen, including different woods to evoke the colour and softness of tuna meat and grey and blue wall tiles to suggest the scales of a huge fish.
For these spaces, a homogeneous and diffuse lighting system has been designed with precise light sources that include: iN 30 High Contrast pendant luminaires with Up/down emission and a custom-designed fixed rod mounting for illuminating the tables centrally.
A number of Underscore light lines has also been used to illuminate the wall perimeters while also integrating and balancing the emissions of the central modules.
In 2018 the design received numerous awards, including the Commercial Interior Design Awards; the Horeca New Business Models Awards and the Codega Award. This success is a fitting reward for a venue whose gastronomic experience has been expanded into a relaxing, attractive, global experience that communicates the equilibrium between the various elements that make up our environment.
Working on a similar project?
Need more information?