Cavernous restaurant by Spacemen feels like "stepping into a giant pot"

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Bar Kar by Spacemen

Bar Kar by Spacemen

Architecture studio Spacemen has designed the Bar Kar restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to resemble the earth ovens historically used to cook and smoke food in the ground.

Based between Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, Spacemen conceived the interiors for Bar Kar “around the concept of primordial community cooking”.

Firewood-lined entrance
Bar Kar is entered via a pathway lined with firewood

Guests enter the eatery through a winding pathway lined with the same firewood used in the restaurant’s kitchen.

This immersive hall was bookended with mirrored walls to give the illusion of an infinite space.

Dining table in Bar Kar
Cavernous walls were designed to evoke ancient cooking pits

A bespoke yellow onyx welcome desk with a timber base was positioned at the end of the pathway, which leads to the main dining hall through a stucco-clad tunnel illuminated by a rounded skylight.

Cavernous, terracotta-hued walls were designed to evoke ancient cooking pits.

Veiny grey travertine table
The central “chef’s table” was finished in veiny grey travertine

“It’s as if patrons are actually stepping into a giant pot,” Spacemen founder Edward Tan told Dezeen.

This geometry is echoed in curved tables and banquettes as well as a U-shaped central “chef’s table” finished in veiny grey travertine.

Arranged around an open, terracotta tile-clad kitchen, the back-lit table provides a space for guests to sit and watch their meals take shape.

Brown slate flooring
Brown slate flooring was chosen to emulate rocks

“All of the elements and finishes are inspired by primordial times,” said Tan, noting the locally sourced brown slate flooring, which was chosen to resemble rocks.

Crumpled mesh sculptures reminiscent of flames were suspended from curved holes in the undulating ceiling.

Bar Kar also features a private dining room informed by “the organic contours of a cave”. For this space, Spacemen chose cream-coloured stucco, stacked in ridged layers to mimic the inside of a cocoon.

Another gold mesh sculpture hangs over the room’s central red travertine table.

Stucco-clad private dining room
The private stucco-clad dining room mimics a cocoon

“We deconstructed the elements of primordial living in ancient times and put them into an abstract composition,” Tan said. “We wanted to make the restaurant familiar but with a fun and contemporary approach.”

Known for its bold application of colour and texture, Spacemen previously inserted an “otherworldly” moss-covered installation in a luxury bag store in Putrajaya.

Other earthy interiors include Studio Wok’s cavernous pizzeria in Sardinia, with sandy pink plaster walls designed to reflect the island’s wind-swept granite rocks.

The photography is by Su Ping. 

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