Haim Cohen, widely known as Israel’s first celebrity chef, appointed Baranowitz + Kronenberg Architects for the design of his new restaurant in Tel Aviv; “Jaffa Tel- Aviv”.
In Israel many culinary traditions live together. Inspired by their richness, Cohen considers them only as a starting point. With a touch of ingenuity, bearing honesty and subtle simplicity, he brings them to an utterly fresh and inventive level of cuisine. Cohen reinvents the Israeli cuisine, he challenges its tradition on a daily basis, yet he always pays homage to its roots.
Baranowitz + Kronenberg Architects started off at the same point as Haim with an aim to represent the spirit of his kitchen. Using simplicity and honesty as primer building materials they make use of raw and ordinary finishes, however, they are only their starting point.
The restaurant envelop is done in the very basic materials: water, cement, aggregates and steel. Exactly as Haim’s cuisine: water, flour and olive oil. The exposed concrete walls of the envelop were polished to reveal the true nature of the stone aggregates, while the concrete floor and ceiling were left untouched.
Like the culinary ingredients which come from different lands, many design elements are mixed together.
The patch work of Turkish carpets hung along the restaurant walls represents a cultural kaleidoscope. Each carpet piece has a story, an identity and a home land. They all evoke the flair of old Jaffa, a city of where multi-national traditions live side by side.
The tall poplar wood shutters facing the west façade allow the sun to play a magical symphony of light and shadow upon the interior walls, a play one can always find walking the alleys of Old Jaffa. The Piet Hein Eek scrap-wood chairs and tables together with second-hand furniture pieces and outdoor light “bells” from the Czech Republic, bestow sophisticated representation of a cultural melting pot. The poured terrazzo of the alcohol bar, and the raw metal winery make a destination zone away from the lively kitchen.
The open kitchen in Jaffa/Tel Aviv is the embodiment of “hospitality”. Guests are invited to seat around the burning fire and watch the “show”. Everything is within reach; nothing is left behind the stage. The kitchen’s stainless steel tops become a huge dining bar.