The Txalupa Gastroleku restaurant draws attention for its design in an area such as the historic center of San Sebastián.
A week ago we appealed to those travelers and lovers of design and music to travel to The Hague. Today we change third and visit an equally striking place but in another context. This is the Txalupa Gastroleku Restaurant, located in one of the most famous and oldest streets of San Sebastián, Fermín Calbetón Kalea, 3, a place where you can swallow more pintxos with joy. There you will feel like a gourmet from Donostia. By the way, as a historical note, Fermín Calbetón was a Spanish lawyer and politician, a deputy and even a minister during the brief government of José Canalejas between 1910 and 1912.
A place with two souls
The common link between this restaurant and the Crazy Pianos we talked about last week is in the team of designers that, worth the redundancy, is called El Equipo Creativo. They fitted out this 190-square-meter premises, giving it two souls within one, to enjoy twice the Basque essence. The surface is divided into two floors, for a total of 84 users, who will be able to recognize in the design the deep respect for traditions.
And it is that the current Txalupa comes from a pintxo bar with the same name, but different aspect. The change of owner led to the renovation of the premises, although with deep respect for what that space meant and, above all, for the place and the name. A txalupa is a small, colorful fishing boat, inseparable from the maritime concept of this port area, attached to the Bretxa market and the old fish market in the city. This duality is what leads to the different design of the two floors of the premises.
References to the sea and ships on walls, floors and ceilings
The ground floor acquires a dark greenish tone thanks to the traditional ceramics that impregnate the vertical and horizontal walls, a tone that recalls the water of the port, and that is highlighted by the wood of the furniture and the carpentry.
To the left of the entrance, we find a large bar that clearly represents a beached boat, ready to serve you the delicacies of the establishment. But, for me, the best thing about this part of the place are the robust ropes that run across the ceiling in two directions and end up delimiting the tables, while providing them with privacy.
On the ground floor, a private and independent club
Connecting the two floors of the business is a vibrant red staircase, capable of dazzling by its very existence, with a pattern reminiscent of fishermen’s nets.
The basement is, for its own reasons, the antithesis to the classic skewer bar, and its function, too. The idea of the promoters was that it could serve as a small private club, so it was equipped with a separate kitchen and a completely different atmosphere on the upper floor.
A design inspired by the hold of a ship
The designers decided to conceive for this plant a scheme similar to a ship’s hold, and for this they covered the ceiling with warm wood panels, as well as the walls, although these are combined with dark vertical lines, making the space seem more large. In addition, the pavement was toned in blue, as an eternal marine reference.
The companies that helped build the premises were the main contract Arrasate Group and the carpentry company Atari. The chairs and stools were provided by Ondarreta, and the lighting was the work of TAO (nice name).
Two places to visit after the pandemic
The different locations of these two places, in addition to their very different uses and iconography, give a slight idea of the different ways of understanding leisure. A good design can boost the value of the kitchen, the music and the place. In this century we can boast of having reached the highest aesthetic levels ever known, and no virus will be able to take away the possibility of continuing to enjoy them.
Photographs: Adria Goula http://www.adriagoula.com/es/