Sabio Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Singapore

by Jess 17 December 2012
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    Named after King Alfonso X of Spain - also know as El Sabio (the wise/learned one) who decreed that all alcoholic drinks be served with tapas (or covering) - this tapas bar offers a fresh, bold and fiercely authentic experience of Spain's 700-year-old tapas culture.

    Nestled inside a traditional Chineseshophouse in the heritage area of Duxton Hill, the bar's dynamic use of space fuses traditional Spanish references with contemporary applications.  With the exception of lighting from Tom Dixon and Roll & Hill, and one chair from Sean Dix, The Stripe Collective have designed every element of the bar from scratch, using only the highest quality materials, to achieve this subtle balance.

    This all-encompassing attention to detail includes the overall concept, name, and branding, through to every detail in the interior; including furniture and finishes.  They also produced all the artworks for the space, and all the bar collaterals; from the menus, right down to the ever changing coasters frequently collected by patrons.

    Custom-made unglazed ceramic tiles, printed with a classic black and white Catalan design, cover the sidewalls and spill in one uninterrupted movement onto a low communal bench that runs the full length of the shophouse. This modern treatment allows the intricate design of the tile to breathe, whilst capitalizing on the bar's deep and narrow layout.

    The five-meter wide bespoke mural on the far wall inside the restaurant is a recreation of the classic ‘Anis Del Mono' poster, combined with additional Spanish design elements referencing the 1920's.  This bespoke illustration has been printed on timber tiles, to give an earthed yet contemporary edge, and seamlessly merges the illustration with the 21st century.

    The dramatic 14m bar-counter that runs the length of the space showcases the cold tapas and fresh seasonal produce, before turning into a communal table, allowing customers to do as the Spaniards do during tapas hour - congregate, meet, and mingle.

    The back-bar, displaying an extensive range of boutique wines, beers and spirits,references traditional Spanish architectural details, and has been intricately carved out of timber by The Stripe Collective's artisan craftsmen in Indonesia.  Playfully incorporated into these joinery items are small brass pig-heads, adding a light whimsical touch.

    Around the bar are a series of custom made artworks inspired by turn-of-the-century Spanish Art.  The illustrations were printed on antiqued mirror that created an unusual effect of blurring the distinction between art and space, as they reflect the space back into to art.

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