Dezeen promotion: Design studio AfroditiKrassa looked to the streets of Tel Aviv to create the interiors of central London's Bala Baya restaurant, which was the venue for the 2019 Dezeen Awards judges dinner.
Taking over a disused railway arch in London's Southwark neighbourhood, Bala Baya has been designed by AfroditiKrassa to be "a poem to Tel Aviv and its countless cultures meeting in the city's bustling street life".
The two-storey restaurant serves a seasonal menu of dishes inspired by Israeli cuisine and created by head chef and founder Eran Tibi.
On the ground floor is a casual dining space that's meant to evoke the atmosphere of Tel Aviv's busy cafes, complete with a huge bespoke oven that can cook-up 1,000 pita breads per hour.
Pink and black-flecked terrazzo tiles have been laid across the floor, offset by a bright-white service counter that winds around the room's rear – it's curved form mimics the shape of the 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings seen in Tel Aviv's UNESCO-listed White City.
Pale stool seats have been slotted underneath, allowing diners to see chefs at work in the open kitchen.
There is also a drinks bar dedicated to serving unique blends of gazoz – a soda-like beverage made from fruit, syrup and carbonated water that has become popular in the Israeli capital over several years.
A black-frame staircase leads visitors up to the first floor, where there is a more formal 76-cover restaurant.
Slate tables have been dotted throughout, surrounded by metal-framed chairs with pale pink backrests. The colour was selected by the studio so that the furnishings looked slightly bleached by the sun, nodding to Tel Aviv's Meditteranean climate.
Burgundy leather banquettes offer a place for larger groups to sit and enjoy their meals.
An exposed-bulb chandelier dangles above the double-height entrance area and leafy potted plants are backlit to create "dancing shadows".
"As the afternoon draws to a close and the light of the setting sun shines through the glass-fronted restaurant, the space slowly transforms to an evening setting," explained the studio.
Toilets are placed behind a patterned breeze-block partition that slots underneath the building's vaulted ceiling.
Bala Baya is one of several London restaurants that AfroditiKrassa has designed. Back in July the studio completed the interiors of opulent Asian eatery Lucky Cat, which is decked out in moody tones to emulate the aesthetic of the underground jazz cafes that appeared throughout Tokyo in the 1930s.