Bar Oval refurbishment – Flexo Arquitectura

architects_FLEXO ARQUITECTURA: Tomeu Ramis + Aixa del Rey + Barbara Vich
client_Oval S.L.
location_Barcelona, Spain
construction year_March 2013
construction costs_62.000 €
total area_200 sqm
cooperating persons_Eugeni Sainz (engineer) + In & Out (constructor) + Juan Polo (carpenter) + Aïllament Pedret (Acoustic Isolation) + Soldaferm (smith)
photography_José Hevia

In the ground floor of a XIX century building situated in the Barcelona Eixample, we are asked to refurbish a 200sq m establishment that has lost its character by the addition of different construction layers through time. Moreover, the establishment would be used as a Burger Bar, open from 9:00 to 24:00 h, and compatible with different service time, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks.

We understand the project as an opportunity to recover what we consider essential: the spaciousness and the industrial character of the space by the reinforcement of its materiality. The intensification of the material memory is not a nostalgic or romantic attitude. We have chosen an unprejudiced and inclusive attitude, that doesn’t discriminate between this or that, but goes for this and that, our work, then, has consisted in updating the old layers and putting them together (in “vis a vis” relation) with the new ones.

The different areas that conform the uses of the bar are defined from the specificity of furniture and lighting, in a linear sequence of uses 25 meters long, starting with a covered outdoor space at the entrance, up to the kitchen. In areas limited by solid brick pilasters, furniture, always resolved with plywood boards, has been fixed to the wall according to defined uses depending on the height and the type: informal bar, dinner tables area and benches with back in the isolated tables’ area. The definition of lighting follows the same criteria; to set up specific environments in relation to its location along the sequence, by using different luminaries of different intensity.

The process was extremely fast (three months in total) and had strong economic constrictions (320€/m2), so we decided to go for a clear and determined strategy: the DIY strategy (“do it yourself”). We have worked following an open process of action-reaction, where all mistakes or changes could be understood as an added value. We are interested in a hybrid technique, capable of combining local materials and techniques, close to the craftwork tradition, with industrial materials and technics from other sources.


We decided to keep anything that can be recycled:
-The cast iron pillars remain in their original shape and finish.
-The brick in the party walls, which is painted in white to highlight its texture.
-Supplies trays, which remain in their original position.
-The steel frames at the entrance door, which are relocated to define the entrance porch.

Municipal regulations require certain degree of sound insulation and absorption. In front of solutions that resolve acoustic conditions with patented, standardized responses, we chose to give a singular and specific response that optimizes materials used commonly for any other purpose. Therefore: -The absorbent roof is resolved by insulation boards for air duct painted black.
-The party walls at the entrance are solved with rotated perforated brick protecting an inner absorbent sheet.

All the supplies are exposed, reducing by 80% the cost of the “aids work”, except for the areas where the construction in dry allows their passage in its extrados (suspended ceilings and plywood boards).

All the furniture is made using 50 units of plywood board 18 and 30mm thick, wisa-spruce type (the one used commonly for packaging boxes). All furniture is dimensioned to avoid unnecessary discards in standard panels’ dimensions (250x125cm)
Moreover, chairs, stools and lamps come from flea markets and 2nd hand stores from different locations.