Beefclub 'Fire and Salt' Restaurant  / Ester Bruzkus Architekten

Beefclub 'Fire and Salt' Restaurant / Ester Bruzkus Architekten

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Text description provided by the architects. Beef Club is the radical refresh of a beloved eatery in Autostadt, the automotive theme park at the headquarters of Volkswagen Group in Wolfsburg. The new design offers two different dining rooms for different kinds of atmospheres: a joyful social area in the front that overlooks an outdoor terrace and an elegant private area in the rear where small groups can gather for celebrations or more confidential meals. At the center of the pub is the theatrical preparation of food on a grill – the menu of Beef Club features both grilled meats and vegetables. An open brick fireplace is located where everyone can see it, recalling the power of an archaic fire at the center of a shared dining experience.

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The theme of the dining menu is “Fire & Salt” – so, in the interior design, building materials were also selected based on this theme. The open part of the kitchen is made from brick–baked earth. This hearth is made from a composition of three kinds of fired brick – glazed and unglazed in different formats. The brick grill grows out of the podium in an assemblage of interrelated volumes. Outside, the brick becomes the floor of the terrace and becomes built-in benches. A lightweight metal pergola creates a framework that makes outdoor rooms. Salt is also used as a building material. A large block of solid salt sits on the brick plinth as a table for display; dining tables are made from woods that have been salted to bring out a unique color and texture. The whole ensemble is brought together in a colorful and joyous composition of discrete rooms within rooms.

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The concept of the project is to harness the archaic within the technological: cooking with fire is as old as our species, but to do it within a large complex modern structure – combines the most ancient techniques with the contemporary. The simple and ancient idea is to cook and eat with fire and salt – but to do so safely, within a large building with a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure.

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The project follows the most basic rule of sustainability – to save as much as possible – so the new restaurant radically reused as much building material as possible from the existing space to limit demolition – floors, walls, lighting fixtures, and technical installations. The project is also importantly socially sustainable – the restaurant used to be uniformly “elegant” – but the new, bright, open dining room has been deliberately redesigned to become more welcoming and attractive to the community of Wolfsburg, inviting the entire community into the campus.

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