Barrio 47 serves up Mediterranean cuisine in an industrial chic atmosphere.
Manhattan bar/restaurant Barrio 47 – located at 47 Eighth Avenue between Jane and Horatio Street – offers an eclectic mix that has culinary traces from France, Italy, and Spain as well as original signature cocktails and house-made infused vodkas and rums, bitters, and spices. The eatery is the brainchild of brothers Alex and Roman Volland, who literally grew up in the restaurant business living on top of their mother’s restaurant in the suburbs of Paris.
The sophisticated combinations on the menu are balanced by the casual, modern vibe of the interior décor. The 60-seat restaurant is distinguished by a mix of old and new. For example, the original hand-painted brick walls were kept as part of the design and paired with a white Carrara marble bar, industrial-style lighting, Euro-style high seating at communal and individual tables, an open kitchen, and a large wood-fired brick oven.
The responsibility for establishing the proper ambiance through interior design and illumination for this unique tapas restaurant fell to Antonio di Oronzo, principal of Manhattan-based architecture and lighting firm Bluarch. The design team opted to keep the restaurant’s hand-painted murals in its new design while the opposite south-facing wall within the bar area is now clad in plaster of varying warm neutral tones and adorned with a laser-cut feature affixed with rivets.
The back dining area is lit by linear pendant lighting and the restaurant is energized by controlled doses of the color red on the bar stools and brick oven, and further enlivened by the white Carrara marble bar and table tops.
One of the most attention-getting design features is the custom-made iron chandelier lit by incandescent bulbs. The contemporary fixture spans the length of the bar, visually delineating two separate areas for the bar and the dining room.
“We rarely use lighting manufacturers,” di Oronzo remarks. “Instead, we designed, detailed, and specified all aspects of the lighting fixture ourselves. We had a metal fabricator manufacture the structure, while an electrician wired it and installed the specified transformers and luminaire.”
An elongated space filled with decorative elements such as murals plus painted and textured brick, Barrio 47 boasts an unusual shape that was a challenge to make equal parts cozy and cool.
“We always aim to achieve maximum flexibility in illumination [color temperature, luminance, etc.],” di Oronzo explains. “In this case, we additionally needed such flexibility because the venue turns into a lounge after the kitchen closes.”
Helping to differentiate the space’s use (lounge vs. restaurant) is the careful selection of lighting controls. “We always specify dimmers and other controllers, depending upon the kinds of lamps we are using. Their mix informs our choices in regard to power, angle, and color. In the case of Barrio 47, we opted for a more focused cone of illumination for the bar-height dining table by the bar to make the vibe more intimate and discreet,” di Oronzo comments. “The main dining room was illuminated with a higher percentage of ambient lighting to create the opposite effect; one where the vibe was more shared.”
Out of all of the design work that the Bluarch team performed, di Oronzo says he is most proud of the lighting design. “Lighting is what we use to form space, to color its moods, and to nuance its presence,” he notes.