The client’s intentions were clear: opening a pastry shop with all the atmosphere of a jeweller, displaying sweets in a space where all the attention is focused on them and giving them the allure of objects of desire capable of engaging all the senses.
This is what the proprietors of the Le Bec Fin pastry shop in Madrid wanted architect Mar Méndez Ortiz de Zárate to do when they asked her to design a space in which to offer their gourmet pastries, made using traditional methods combined with the most innovative preparation techniques.
Thanks to this combination, Le Bec Fin products evoke the flavours of childhood in true works of art: the sense of sight is delighted by the beauty of the pastries, while the senses of smell and taste are engaged by their flavours and aromas, a perfect balance of sweet and savoury.
The most important requirement was to have a display space giving the right emphasis to the preparations, integrating a workshop where customers can admire the pastry chefs’ talent incorporating a tasting area.
This meant it was important to find a way to reconcile aesthetic, display and functional requirements with the need to comply with health regulations for spaces and materials in contact with food. All this in order to exhibit the sweet creations in a way that underlines their colours and consistency and treats them with the importance normally reserved for jewellery.
The average amount of time required to capture the attention of potential customers through a shop window is 3 to 11 seconds, making careful design of window displays an essential factor.
Architect Mar Méndez Ortiz de Zárate, who worked on the project in partnership with interior designer Josè Àngel Obeso and CUPA STONE, exclusive SapienStone distributor in Madrid, chose SapienStone’s Malm Black and Calacatta surfaces to underline the interior design.
SapienStone porcelain is the perfect solution: a hygienic surface which can remain in direct contact with food without any need to use a cutting board. Resistant to scratches, shocks, light, high temperatures, acidic products and corrosive agents, it is non-absorbent, stain-proof and low-maintenance, and can be cleaned with ordinary soap or conventional detergent of the kind used on surfaces in contact with food.
Sold in big through-coloured porcelain slabs measuring 320 x 250 cm, with a thickness of 12 or 20 mm, SapienStone countertops have extraordinary visual impact as they cover surfaces without interruption, guaranteeing the continuity of the design.
On all surfaces on which chefs work with ingredients in full view of customers and in the areas where the pastries are displayed, the architect and interior designer used surfaces made of Calacatta Statuario with a natural finish and Malm Black with a natural finish.
The Calacatta Statuario texture is used in the display area and the area where pastries and baked goods are packaged. Inspired by the most prestigious marble, a synonym of opulence and refinement, it is characterised by ivory-white colour marked with grey veins giving the material unrivalled elegance.
The Malm Black texture is used on the snack counters, measuring 30 cm deep and 70 cm to 2 m wide.
The two shelves presenting the products for sale are also covered with SapienStone Malm Black with a natural finish, a colour inspired by dark metal which gives the surfaces a futuristic look. Here the pastries are protected by clear glass shelves permitting complete visibility.
A prestigious look and advanced performance are the two principles underlying SapienStone materials; their versatility is a key tool for expression of the designers’ and architects’ creativity.
The Le Bec Fin project combines the prestige of SapienStone slabs with the neutral colours of the polished cement floor, strategic lighting highlighting the various work areas and reflective glass which multiplies space while ensuring privacy.
The result is a highly distinctive space combining all the allure of a luxury boutique with the warm, welcoming atmosphere of a pastry shop, a place people go to take a break and enjoy a sweet treat.
SapienStone allowed the architect and designer to amplify the beauty of the preparations with innovative materials capable of creating an inviting, comfortable space that strikes customers with its combination of sweet treats and design.
We interviewed architect Mar Méndez Ortiz de Zárate and asked him a few questions about the Le Bec Fin project.
Why did you choose this colour contrast between Malm Black and Calacatta Statuario?
I needed to contrast a light material with veins, Calacatta, with a more neutral material that would not overshadow it but underline its beauty. I chose Malm Black, a material that creates contrast and is in the same tone range as some parts of the colour of Calacatta, in this case the darker veins. The two colours work together, creating contrast and, at the same time, generating a dialogue of colour clearly underlining Calacatta, which plays a key role in the countertop, an element we wanted to underline.
Which elements of the jeweller inspired your design for the pastry-shop?
It was not really the elements themselves but the philosophy of the jeweller that inspired me. A place where the most exclusive products are sold, of great value and, I would say, great class. The people at Le Bec Fin gave me the same sensation about their products. Very finely made baked goods which are exhibited in the windows as something very exclusive, something that can only be found here. Products intended for a very demanding clientele. The sensation was that of a place where true “jewels” of gastronomy would be sold, and this is the point of view from which I approached the project.
You use Calacatta Statuario Natural and Malm Black Natural porcelain with glass. I imagine this has to do with the look of the place. Can you tell us about it?
Well, yes and no. I was using a gloss and materials that reflect light, materials with similar properties, and I believe porcelain and glass are very similar in this way; but it was not just aesthetics that made me choose these materials and combine them. A pastry shop is a place where food is handled, and so cleanliness and hygiene are of the utmost importance. Both glass and porcelain are materials which are not very porous and guarantee high levels of hygiene, cleanliness and disinfection, as they are materials that perfectly support the products used to disinfect surfaces, an essential factor in a place where people work with food.
How did you find out about SapienStone?
I wanted the counter to have a finish like that of Carrara marble, to add an exclusive touch, but with the properties I have mentioned. I had doubts about natural marble’s resistance to disinfectants, for, as we all know, it is a porous material. I was looking for a material that would offer me this aspect of Carrara marble under the conditions I needed, and I found SapienStone.
What do you like best about SapienStone?
Everything I have mentioned so far: its excellent finish, high degree of hygiene, colours and finishes. I also appreciated SapienStone’s assistance service, which supported me and responded to all my requests right from the start.
If you need any information please contact us using the form below.