One of the touristic crown jewels of the southern part of Spain is the busy city of Marbella. It’s in this city known for its busy nightlife and famed beaches that we can find the Leña Marbella, a contemporary restaurant owned by the Dani Garcia Group of the famous Michelin Star Chef Dani Garcia. To give this space a surprising interior that matches its amazing food, the Dani Garcia Group decided to hire the amazing Spanish design studio Astet Studio! It was obviously the right choice because the end result is simply stunning!
Astet’s goal is to achieve balance in every project — between the organic and the technical, simplicity, and richness! We can perfectly see that this goal was highly achieved at Leña Marbella, a space that treasures the essence of the primitive, of fire, of embers, and of primary materials such as stone and wood, which are not only elements of the interior design project but are also the basis for the preparation of the gastronomic proposal.
Leña is a steakhouse where meat is the central focus and where different ways to cook it, whether smoked or grilled, give the flavor and also the design concept for this space. Firewood, its textures, its rings marked by time and its organic relief, creates the ideology of this project. The use of this material and its origin, the trunk, creates a completely different environment and a multisensory experience. An intense jet black is present in the space and dominates the color palette, it covers everything, walls, ceilings, floors and even the furniture. Nuances are created by unfolding a palette that is brightened or quenched as needed. Textures and contrasts allow us to see the immensity of variables that black has in Firewood. This tone emerges as a testimony of burned, charred wood using the Japanese Yakisugi technique. The Japanese country also serves as a reference for Leña’s star dish, Wagyu beef. Black is the best background to highlight the colors of meat and restaurant dishes.
Nature is present throughout the space. Its organic lines shape the elements within the spaces of the restaurant. This organicity is exposed in the ceiling, which poses great importance throughout the space. Sinuous lines, extruded at different heights, in stained ash wood, resembles the rings of a cut log and is also the light sculpture that covers the entire restaurant. The dim light creates the feeling that each ring is on fire and reminds us that fire is latent in the kitchen and in the environment. Shadows an element that defines the volumes and arouses curiosity within the different corners of the interior. Turning back to earth and its raw textures is another resource that creates an interesting dialogue within the interior. The rocks that are used to generate fire are also prominent elements in the ambiance; two suspended volumes emerging and creating a counterpoint within the dark backdrop. Upon entering the restaurant, you realize that Leñais something different, itsfaçade with its black circular metallic forms resemble the shape of rings found in chopped firewood. The transparent glass alternates with another type of glass that was exclusively designed by the studio for Leña, with an amber tone and a pyramidal texture, which creates a visual filter and interesting optical effects.
The outdoor terrace floor is created with wooden studs placed apart from each other by lines of black gravel. During the summer, the facade carpentry unfolds to unify interior and exterior in one single space. Once past the entrance door, an opaque, curved and wooden lobby welcomes us to the new culinary experience. Both the ceiling and the floor of this small area experiment with the textures, refining the primitivism of fire and wood. This opacity at the entrance also enhances the surprise effect when discovering what lies behind it. The interior space is distributed in an open floor plan, each seating group has a unique ambience, that caters to different moods, showing different nuances, colors and textures.
The first space is the whiskey bar, the bar is a five-meter wooden truck punched with linear mirror stripes, which creates an infinite perception of cuts. The bar top is a veined black tropical stone that gives character to this element. The back-bar area, which also doubles as a room divider, has a cascade display of the different varieties of national and international whiskies. This structure of textured wood and brass creates an almost sculptural element for the exposition of whiskey bottles.A suspended brass bar canopy that also functions as a pendant light hangs over the bar and nicely contrasts with the dark tones for the bar. The large skylight provides natural lighting to the space and unites this space with luminosity to the outdoor terrace. Two curved wooden geometries frame the reception area, where a sculpted piece forms the reception desk. Its volumetric texture suggests a play of shadows that enrich its form and emphasizes its elegance. Its sandstone color contrasts with the black tone of the floor and ceiling and extends the dialogue between the entrance area and the area of the toilets and the cellar within which the sandstone color reappears.
The monumental ceiling guides us through the organic volumes that form sculptural seating areas. Two large benches create the seating in this area; the first one, on one side of the interior, is a continuous all-black serpentine bench that emerges out of a backlit smoke background that creates an ethereal effect on one side of the restaurant. The second; a central organic volume with double curvature that curves both in plan and elevation composing unique micro-spaces where you can stand enjoy the restaurant’s dishes. This central sculptural benches made up of two compositions; a long one and two smaller ones on both ends of the bench. Structure of burned wooden slats fuses, on one hand, with the vertical black leather stitching of the longitudinal side of the bench, and contrasts on the other hand the vertical dark amber tone on the curved sides of the bench on both ends. An embedded planter mixes plants and tree trunks invite nature to the center of the bench. An extruded brass profile enhances the natural shape of the bench and reminds us of the sophistication of the curved ceiling.
Armchairs designed by Astet, create chromatic uniformity with the benches and maintain a palette of amber and orange tones that continue to remind us of the hues of fire. Chairs with a light structure and black leather alternate with the heavier arm chairs to give balance to the different seating compositions. Tables with sculptural legs, also designed by the studio, takes the concept of functional sculptures yet further. Large stone rugs alternate on the floor to intensify the contrast with the black Zimbabwe granite flooring; the main flooring of the restaurant. Palladian black Marquina marble floors, create the base of the bar area as well as one of the benches’area. Under the central sculptural bench, a terrazzo floor with brown and ocher stone blends seamlessly with the tones and palettes of the space.
The background of this central area is characterized by a large longitudinal black ash wood display which plays with a myriad of textures and creates a unique tactile background. Large panels of backlit Brazilian stone simulates the visual of burning coal and create a background on top of which the VIP clients ’knives float. Along with this piece of furniture, a large refrigerated display with a textured black background intensifies the tones of the charcuterie that the chef displays for his clients. Adjacent to the display case is the entrance to the toilet area. A smoke gradient glass partition with a large suspended rock create a landmark that separates the restaurant hall from the toilet. A sculptural piece of terrazzo in brown and black tones form the sink that is carved out the inside of the rock and contrasts with the toilet hallway’s overwhelming envelope.
The richness of brass and its polished surface contrasts with the arid texture of the rock that contains the sink. After crossing the glass partition wall, we enter a longitudinal vaulted space, in cream and brass tones with dynamic pivoting mirrors which transport us to a completely different space where pyramidal forms draw the walls and doors for the toilet cabins. The bright, clear, and polished contrast leads us to a dark industrial space toilet cabin interior. Artistic photographs of cattle remind us that this space is to enjoy meat.
The spectacle of the fire flares up in the kitchen. As if it were a theater, the kitchen area opens onto the restaurant through a sleek brass skin that slides into the large volcanic stone that makes up the grill area. The anthracite customized ceramic tiles give texture to the kitchen walls and intensify the play of fire. The theatrical lighting shows the different areas of the kitchen as if they were different acts of a play.
Next to the open kitchen, there is another organic bench that creates different seating arrangements. Dividing the bench area are vertical totems in black-carved wood and mirrors that function as service furniture, displays, and sculptural elements. The skirting of the bench extends to encircle the base of one of the totems and unifies the two. Vegetation and lights, custom-designed by the studio, in alabaster and brass give this space a sophisticated character that is strengthened by a brass service cabinet that shines like a jewel in the other end of the space.
The wine cellar; a glass enclosure made from black steel and brass, houses the restaurant’s collection of more than 1,000 bottles.The cream tone reappears, this time with wood, adding a note of clarity to the surrounding darker spaces. This space, which contains different acclimatized areas for red, white and sparkling wines, communicates with the other restaurant of the group, Bibo, creating an infinite corridor through the play of mirrors to enchant wine lovers.
The private dining area is a space differentiated from the rest of the restaurant. A two-tone curtain in burgundy and ochre tones acts as a separating element and creates a division between the private dining and the restaurant. A terrazzo rug is a base for the large round table with leather armchairs. The back wall;a round-edged brass window, gives apeak into the interior of the cellar and creates a visual texture of champagne bottle. The planter adds a soft natural touch to the cold and rough materials like burned wood and metal. This area can be partially or fully open towards the outdoors using the metal screens in the façade. The private dining room introduces the restaurant’s fireplace which highlights the concept behind Leña.