The Making of Woods, Food and Goods
words by Graeme du Plessis
Quiet Studios put the emphasis in their design on people, both the people for whom the space is designed, and the people who create the space. It is by balancing this so well with an awareness of aesthetic that they are able to create beautiful and functional commercial spaces that retain the feeling and comfort of private spheres of living.
Confronted by a vast space with dated interior and little budget to turn Woods, Food and Goods into a successful commercial venture; Creative Director Daniela Franceschini looked to Berlin, where she lives, for inspiration. Inviting her clients out to the city she showed them spaces that were maintained by creative collectives, and worked to bring that atmosphere to Woods, Food and Goods. Aiming to design the store as a collaborative project she enlisted the help of local craftsmen to repurpose and upcycle the old palettes, doors and offcuts that had been collected for materials. The financial necessity of this thriftiness and Daniela’s passion for bringing natural materials and earthy hues into her designs, meant that wood became the project’s aesthetic focal point.
Stretching down the centre of the restaurant a rough wooden table crafted from dissected railway sleepers sits, waiting for a rowdy group to crowd around. Low stools are made from sawn tree trunks and whittled branches, and wood paneling clads the walls and arched ceilings to give a warm atmosphere that makes the large space feel welcoming.
Round the corner reclaimed doors and windows hang from a sturdy frame, separating the eating space from the concept store, where bicycles and espadrilles are arranged and on sale. Here a woodland mural painted by a local artist adds colour to the walls, to complement the selection of lush indoor plants arranged throughout the venue, and a collection of bear masks hang open-mouthed, reaching for the wooden salmon that hangs mid-dive between them. Ensuring that all design elements complement each other Daniela created the store’s entire concept, bringing together the various puzzle pieces and ensuring cohesion between design and use. The menu is full of easy breakfasts and large communal lunches, to be shared around the large tables and enjoyed with a craft beer, giving Woods, Food and Goods a familial atmosphere by design that makes it a local hub for groups of friends young and old to relax and feel at home year-round.
Attention has been paid to every design detail and Daniela’s self-professed talent as ‘finder of gadgets and gizmos’ mean that the store is filled with little antique gems. Bathroom sinks are made out of old disused metal trays used for keeping beds warm in the Spanish winter, and a selection of old wood-turning tools hang on one of the whitewashed walls. Shelves of books and candles, and vintage chairs and leather sofas ensure that all furnishings add to the cottage-feel of the restaurant space, as does the menu.
The Woods, Food and Goods façade and terrace is bit out of place alongside the kitsch cafes, hotels and bars built to cater for Fuengirola’s tourism boom in the 1970s, but that is the point - to offer the town something new. For Daniela the concept and spatial design for the restaurant-bar-boutique were instinctive, ideas that she arrived at almost instantly and kept her focus on throughout the project.