On the 30th September Casa Cor Peru – Peru’s biggest annual design exhibition – opened its doors to the public for the 21st time since its inauguration in 1996. Casa Cor is more than just a design fair, it is a celebration of peruvian heritage and architecture. Every year Peruvian designers search for beautiful yet forgotten architectural buildings in need of rescue and restore these to then be used as the venue for their interior designs. Each designer is given a different area of the house and displays his or her design within. Two stunning Casonas, Casa Mujica and Casa Paz Soldan, buildings that date back to the 1800s and 1700s respectively, were the lucky buildings of this year’s Casa Cor Peru and their transformation is magical.
Having recently made the bold step of moving to Lima, Casa Cor was an event I was particularly excited about – and of course I came back full of beautiful South American inspiration! The theme of 2016 seemed to be a celebration of Peruvian treasures in the form of gorgeous metal works in gold and silver and the use of colourful Peruvian textiles.
There was one interior however, that stood out to me in particular, for its detailed design and stunning vision: the Restaurant and Bar designed by Erika Zielinski. Erika Zielinski is a peruvian interior designer renowned for her eclectic style and award winning interiors. This is the 4th time this young and well travelled designer has been asked to do Casa Cor – and unsurprisingly she wowed again.
Erika Zielinski’s restaurant design for me was a real celebration of Peruvian culture. It embodied the warmth, the lushness and the richness of this intriguing country in a wonderfully meticulous concept. Each element seemed to have been chosen with such precision that the whole interior transported you on a magical journey of andes, amazon and incas. Moreover, the extensive use of natural and handcrafted materials such as wood, ceramics and textiles honoured the creative talent that is so apparent amongst the people of Peru and this for me elevated it from the other designs.
The restaurant is laid out in three parts, the main eating area, a cosy terrace and a spectacular bar:
As you walk through the impressive orange double doors of the Casa Mujica into the restaurant you are immediately hit with a feeling of joy. There are vivid green plants to your side, giant colourful lights above your head and beautiful wood work adorning the walls of the restaurant around you – and it all works beautifully together. Erika Zielinski manages to create a design that is full of colour yet minimalistic enough to be a work of bohemian elegance. The base is neutral – a dark navy wall on one side, a light wooden wall design on the other and neutral curtains and furniture that complement each other gracefully. The accents however are full of colour and pattern and make this design really interesting. The giant lanterns above your head have been made out of traditional andean textures – a rainbow of colour – while the lights illuminating the eating areas (and the little curtain knobs!) are made out of gorgeous monochrome patterned ceramics, each undoubtedly pieces of precious handcraft. This combined with the subtle green of the cacti and olive tress which are scattered around the restaurant create an inviting and mind-provoking dining space.
The Terrace on the other hand feels more like a jungle retreat.The same design principles of the inside are kept on the outside but in a more extravagant form. Here the floor is arranged in a monochrome pattern, creating a stunning visual effect, whilst the chairs are no longer a neutral mesh but a mixture of patterned mesh. This is combined with small and delicate ceramic lighting which allows for a more playful lighting arrangement. Moreover the plants are lusher and more vibrant, embracing not only greens but also reds, oranges and yellows. The result is visually extremely interesting yet incredibly harmonious and calming.
Although small and secretly tucked away, the design of the bar is spectacular and leaves you in awe as you walk in. A giant golden chandelier, its design no doubt inspired by the Inca’s love of gold, soars above your head in an impressive manner. It sets the tone for this space, which is much more masculine and majestic than the previous rooms. The bar is decorated with tiny lit up gold-silver circles and completed with textured bar stool in the traditional colours of the andes.