Federal Café by Barbara Appolloni


Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Visitors to this cafe in Barcelona by architect Barbara Appolloni are led up this concrete staircase to the upper storey and a terrace beyond.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Called Federal Cafe, the project involved opening the interior to the street with retractable steel shutters on the ground floor and the addition of a bench clad in black ceramic tiles marking the boundary.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Photographs are by Lucía Carretero.

Here are some more details from Appolloni:


The client brief for this existing two-floor building and terrace, located on a corner street in the neighborhood of San Antonio, in Barcelona, was a cozy and informal cafe/bistro/lunch spot restaurant.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

While the facing of the facade has been restored with minimal intervention, to remain in keeping with the neighboring buildings, the woodwork has been designed so that the ground floor remains completely open to the street by retractable steel windows and the existing wooden windows of the top floor, which have been opened to the outside, allowing a continuous visual connection with the street.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

On the ground floor, two work benches, coated with black 10x10 ceramic tiles, mark the boundary between the inner and outer space and are a comfortable place to sit and look out onto the street.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Radical interventions have been made to the interior space, which has been meticulously renovated.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Upon entering, the eye is guided to the upper floor by the double height and the concrete steps made in situ, and then up again to the garden-terrace.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

On the ground floor the sight is extended to the small patio, which is an element of separation between the public and service space, suggesting the idea of an open space and providing cross ventilation.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

On the ground floor, originally set against the wall, is the bar, which has been custom designed, like the dessert table, strategically placed in the center of the sliding window and the axis of symmetry of the courtyard. Both elements are in plywood, coated in plastic laminate of different colors.

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Location: Carrer Parlament 39, Barcelona
Architect: Barbara Appolloni

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Client: Nigel Chouri, Christopher King
Project: Comprehensive Rehabilitation
Anno: 2009 -2010
Use: Café-Bistro
Floors: 2 floors + terrace
Total area: 115 mq. + 60 mq. terrace
Photographer: Lucía Carretero

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

Federal Cafe by Barbara Appolloni

See also:


Rosa’s by Gundry
& Ducker
Yellow Submarine by
Tulp Design
Barrio North by

Posted on Thursday October 14th 2010 at 9:16 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Felix

    Looks great, will have to check it out.

    I'd like to see a photo of people sitting comfortably on the wall-cushions though; they don't look very practical, especially for the over 50's.
    Also the bar is confusing me, is it meant to be some inside-outside space?

  • people

    the bench thing is nice, there is a very nice atmosphere in this cafe

  • random question but does anyone know the name of the font used for the signage?

  • sketch

    And awesome cupcakes

  • damfak

    Awsome!!!! love the casual chic atmosphere. I don’t think the bar has a front counter, but kitchen-like counter… love the colors, love everything….

    good job.

  • hdxtst

    nice details at the outline stairway.

  • Cristina

    These are the kind of places that make me miss barcelona so much!

  • I love the sheer variety of surface areas – gorgeous. And very clever use of storage, too.

  • Dgdtw

    fantastic, fantastic…
    I got a very nice feeling of happines inside it.
    Amaizing, even the food was great! Best hamburger in town!
    Loved every little single detail. Even pictures where so well chosen!
    Fantastic Barbara! keep on like this!!

  • maite

    Si hay algo que me gusta de Barcelona es que, aunque no lo parezca, sigue teniendo ese saber hacer de pequeña ciudad. Cadenas que en otras urbes triunfan en nuestra ciudad tienen que cerrar. El precio, pero sobretodo el trato, es algo a lo que las personas de Barcelona aún le dan mucha importancia. A lo moderno también, sí; pero no hay tanto moderno sin maneras para aguantar tanto local cool. O se ponen las manos a la obra y atienden a la gente como hace falta o, en algunos momentos, has echado del local a comisarios de exposiciones de grandes museos con un "puerta!" ( 21-11-11, un descerebrado con un flequillo tipo "Algo pasa con Mary"). Sinceramente, eso, en Barcelona, y demos gracias a quién se las quiera atribuir, sucede en muy pocos establecimientos. Esperemos que se perpetúe.