BIG and Kilo Design transform Copenhagen
basement into tiled South American restaurant


Brightly-coloured patterned ceramic tiles line the walls, floor and stairs of this South American restaurant in Copenhagen, designed by Danish studios BIG and Kilo Design (+ slideshow).


Bjarke Ingels' architecture firm BIG partnered with Kilo Design to transform an unused basement space into Llama, a South American-themed restaurant for Copenhagen-based restaurant brand Cofoco.


Lars Holme Larsen, Kilo's founder, worked with BIG partner Jakob Lange to renovate the double-storey space by knocking down walls, removing the floor and replacing the old structure with black-painted steel beams, to help connect the restaurant to the street.


"The restaurant is divided into four main spaces, you enter the foyer space which is a double height room with a giant green wall, a glass montré with south American artefacts and a small cocktail bar," the designers told Dezeen.


"From here you step down into the main space with a large dining bar in the middle. Here you can enter a white room with an arched ceiling and mirroring walls, or you can enter an intimate room behind the bar," they added.


The studios imported handcrafted Mexican cement tiles to cover the interior with steel support beams framing alcoves and corner spaces in the basement.


The downstairs square bar is surrounded by dark, cushioned bar stools while the rest of the space is filled with round tables and chairs. More benchtops and bar stools are tucked into various alcoves along with booth style seating set against a mirrored rear wall.


"From an architectural point of view, I think we have created a remarkable transformation – the main idea of merging two cultures has turned an interpretation of a traditional Latin American vernacular into a contemporary Copenhagen public space," said Jakob Lange.


The restaurant serves a range of food in flavours inspired by Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Mexico, along with spirits, wine and South American-style cocktails.


A flight of stairs screened by glass partitions lead up to the ground floor where a screen of plants suspended at different levels hang in front of a section of tiled wall.


Globe shaped and hanging pendant lights with brass fittings feature throughout, along with candles and various South American artefacts.


Kilo's Larsen has collaborated on a number of projects with BIG's founder Bjarke Ingels and is co-founder of design group Kibisi alongside Ingels and "design philosopher" Jens Martin Skibsted. Kibisi's Pebble watch for Bulbul is available at the Dezeen Watch Store.

Photography is by BIG and Kilo Design.

Here's some information about the project from BIG:

Copenhagen restaurant Llama designed by Lars Larsen (Kilo) and Jakob Lange for Cofoco

Copenhagen restaurant group Cofoco has teamed up with some of the city's most creative forces — Kilo founder Lars Larsen (Kilo) creative advisor Jonas Hartz (Hz), BIG partners Jakob Lange and Bjarke Ingels (BIG) — to create the new restaurant Llama – Restaurante Sudamericano.


Llama is among the first restaurants in the region to draw on the flavors of the South American continent. Inspired by Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and, moving a bit to the north, Mexico, the menu features ceviches, anticuchos, Uruguayan-style meats, tacos, and a list of South American spirits. But Llama is without question rooted in the Nordic region and aims to thoughtfully and sensibly marry the South American inspiration with Scandinavian products and recipes.

For years, the space that is now Llama was a dark, impersonal basement. Designers Larsen and Lange have created an open space generously connected to the city. The walls and floors are lined with handcrafted Mexican cement tiles, melding iconic design influences from Latin America with Copenhagen cool.


The interior design carries a number of main drivers — colourful tiles, black furniture, a vibrant green wall, and brass light fixtures — that together create a spatial configuration conducive to linked experiences throughout the restaurant.

"From an architectural point of view, I think we have created a remarkable transformation - the main idea of merging two cultures has turned an interpretation of a traditional Latin American vernacular into a contemporary Copenhagen public space," says BIG Partner Jakob Lange.


Kilo founder and Head of Design Lars Larsen echoes Lange's observations: "Llama is product of a strong creative team with an ambition to crate a strong social space in a span between South America and Copenhagen – the flamboyant and the understated merging to create a restaurant with an international feel rooted in Scandinavian heritage."

The Interior plan is optimised for seating 180 people two times a night. There are three different dining spaces, with the bar as the venue's beating heart.

  • Carlos

    Disappointingly similar to a Mexican brand Cielito Querido Café by Esrawe:

    • Daniella Cara Quaglia

      But this one is so much more sophisticated and ambient! Just booked here for my little break in April. Thank you Dezeen!

  • Freddy Garcia

    Nice job, like a Miro’s artwork. You can get those discontinued tiles at a very cheap prize. I will copy that style on my living room.

    • Airborne

      I don’t think these tiles are discontinued. They are actually handmade with poured coloured concrete in templates for the pattern. This upper layer is about one centimetre thick. Worn and chipped tiles still retain the pattern and colour. As such they cannot be compared to cheap average printed tiles.

      • Freddy Garcia

        I’ve just finished my basement using the idea of using different floor tiles. The result mimicked the one from the bar. I am very happy with my achievement, thanks for the idea. I even copied the wall background. Fabulous!

  • sheogorath

    Yeah, people need to stop mixing up Mexico with the rest of Latin America, especially South America.

  • Carolina Carranza

    This kind of tiles has been used in the east and south of Spain since 19th century. Gaudi loved it and used it in lots of his buildings. As Airbone said they are handmade and can be bespoke. It’s a very durable and versatile material which a timeless appearance.

  • Valencia H

    Very reminiscent of artist Isaiah Zagar’s work.