When successful restauranteur André De Barre began planning a new venture in Ocean Village, he said he knew he had to call on the services of Angela Sargent to join the team in creating the image for their new restaurant.
A completely new concept for Gibraltar was to be rolled out in a high profile location. Building on the success of the Gaucho’s Argentinian venue, and taking reference from South American style catering, André wanted a look that would transport his diners to another continent. Angela was able to draw on he experiences having visited Rio and the surrounding Rain Forest the previous year. In consultation with André and his son René, the exotic beaches of Rio were selected from a range of South American venues for the name of the restaurant.
The famous Ipanema bay was the preferred choice, using the all time favourite song, ‘La Garota de Ipanema’ or ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ which marked the beginning of Bossa Nova music. A virtual representation of the restaurant was created after taking careful measurements and a series of photographs. This was then clad in themed graphics, and was presented on the laptop as a series of .pdf files showing the overall effect and some details of how the lintels and pillars would appear. We could also have run a 3D virtual tour, but it was not felt to be necessary for this project. The design concept was approved by André and his team and included panoramic murals. These images may be installed at a later date but initially the exotic atmosphere was portrayed by relying solely on the peripheral graphics that had been planned for the ceiling, windows, pillars and lintels.
The glass ceiling was entirely covered with one image of the Rain Forest canopy.
The representatives of the manufacturers of the materials we used, who were consulted during the planing process, had never heard of this being done before. This ground breaking and possibly unique, naturally illuminated ceiling graphics display, so immediately changed the character of the dining area, that it seemed to have a ‘Sistine Chapel’ effect on visitors, who would walk in and crane their heads back to gaze at the Rain Forest canopy.
Next the South wall of the building, a row of glass doors that open out onto the marina, was transformed into a Temperate Rain Forest vista. Using one large image for each section of 5 doors, but manipulating the graphics so the repetition was only apparent after studying the picture for a while, but still leaving enough of the original image so viewers might be tempted to try to match them up.
The Pillars and beams had been left with a problematic substrate by the previous occupants, our brief was to completely cover them. We chose photography of stone work from Mayan and Inca sources to enhance and underscore the exotic South American character of the venue.
The images were duplicated and mirrored until long strips were created to run the length of each panel required, then creeping plants were super-imposed on the stonework. After these panels were installed the main roof beam and pillars were further decorated with silk leaves so the image of trailing greenery flowed seamlessly from the 2-D medium to the 3-D environment. Parts of the pillar supports were jacketed in organic material, breaking the symmetry and again the silk plants were allowed to ‘grow’ through them and around them.
Finally three meter lengths of bamboo were bound into the design with hemp like rope to further disguise the new build structure and create a more naturalistic venue. The day after all this was completed the André shipped in huge live bamboo and other plants which were strategically placed and really set off the whole design concept.