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Retro flavours at Piraña

This South American-inspired bar and diner in London is all kinds of delicious with a distinctly retro vibe, designed by Sella Concept.

Taking over the shell of a former restaurant, Piraña by Sella Concept subtly draws on a South American aesthetic. The new restaurant and bar has been expertly divided into a mix of casual dining with a more atmospheric and rich bar experience.

Pirana exterior by Sella Concept

The starting point for Sella Concept, headed up by Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan, was to first understand how people would use the overall space. This then allowed the pair to incorporate visual shifts and atmospheric transitions to cater to the changing dynamics and behaviours within the whole venue.

As co-founder von Stein elaborates, “We are both fascinated by the psychology of behaviour behind design and the question of how to encourage behaviour through layout, design and materials – what design makes us feel. Our favourite projects are those that allow us to answer one question: how can we transport an audience?”

The front room of Pirana by Sella Concept

From outside in and inside out, the bold red and sky blue colour combination dominates. The exterior features blue and white tiled mosaics, with a red metal framework.

Similar materials are then brought into the front room. Blue micro-mosaic tiling covers the bar, while deep red upholstery and curving arches round out the space. Not afraid of introducing another colour into the mix, the floor features a bespoke jade terrazzo, which was created in partnership with a Spanish fabricator.

Repetitions in forms bring a playful energy while ensuring visual consistency. Vertical padded upholstery on the banquette seating is repeated in the vertical ribbing that covers the bar and secret ‘snugs’ to either side. An open kitchen also features vertical timber slats – the timber providing a softer and natural finish among the richer, resplendent palette.

The front room comprises chef’s table, curving bars and banquette seating raised on a platform – the arrangement promoting a casual and friendly dining atmosphere.

But that is not all that the venue has to offer. Behind a secret hatch through one of the snugs, is access to a back room. Darker and moodier in tone, this area is lined with a series of private booths, where each can call the bar directly for service.

From the light and airy front room to the moody bar at the back, these connected zones allow Piraña customers to use the space as their mood and preference dictate – whether they fancy sociable casual dining and drinking, or a more private personal experience.

Photography by Nicholas Worley.

Want more cool cafés and restaurants? Take a dive into our hospitality archives.

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