A glass-covered kitchen at the entrance to this Tel Aviv restaurant by Vered Kadouri and Craft & Bloom turns food preparation into an art show.
Opened in September 2018 and led by chef Shirel Berger, the Opa-based restaurant was designed by architect and interior designer, Vered Kadouri, along with Tel Aviv Craft & Bloom's design house.
Located on a dilapidated road in the city's Levinsky Market, the designers wanted a 35-seat restaurant to become a "peaceful cocoon in the midst of chaos".
"This arrangement, while captivating in its authenticity, presents a direct and clear design challenge," the designers said. "How does one create a luxurious dining experience on a slum road marked by wholesale shops and bodega style corner shops?"
"To create the desired atmosphere, we closed the entire facade facing the road by removing all existing metal doors and installing a combination of glass and dry walls painted with natural finishing, resembling something closer to an art gallery than a restaurant," the designers said .
"This technique creates an intimate effect, such as the womb which blunts street sounds and separates guests from the unruly outside world," they added.
Comparing watching Berger in the workplace to "watching an artist with his brush", the designers installed an open kitchen at the entrance of the restaurant that could display food preparation for visitors as evening shows.
The Berger workstation protruded out of the glass so that it was parallel to the guest table seating. This was done to deliberately place Berger on the same plane as his customers.
"The glass-covered kitchen is positioned rather rebelliously at the entrance of the restaurant, making it clear to guests that food is on the front line," the designers said.
"Opa is a place where food is consumed with the same eyes as the stomach, and quality ingredients are prepared with respect, attention and transparency."
Vegan dishes Berger is famous for its minimalist and artsy appearance, which designers want to reflect on in interior design.
"The design of the space is fully inspired by the cuisine and processes of the Shirel: minimal, clean, locally sourced, and with understated air," they explained. "Like Shirel, we believe in focusing on perfect material and exploring how they work organically."
"Over-management, like too much spice, is only needed when naked ingredients require intelligent disguise. In the case of Opa, every element shines in its simplicity."
Inspired by locally sourced ingredients, designers use natural and local ingredients such as Hevron stones for the inner terrace, which can be cut by hand just 25 minutes outside the city. In addition, all ceramics, including tableware and vases, are made by local studios.
Decorative lights were designed at home and made by local craftsmen in Jaffa, while artisanal soap on the toilet was made by a local maintenance company, Maapilim.
Indoor decorative olive trees are added to create a Mediterranean kitchen atmosphere.
Also opened this year in Tel Aviv, this vegan restaurant designed by local company Amit Studio has a pale pink window sheath, potted plants and fresh produce.
Photography is by Yoav Gurin.