March 15, 2018

Mercader de Indias Creates a Spirited Restaurant for a Valencian Pilota Court

“The game of the ball is deeply rooted in this land,” says Carlos Serra, owner of the Valencian studio Mercader de Indias. So deeply rooted, in fact, that the Spanish city boasts the longest continually open sports court in Europe: the Trinquet de Pelayo, where teams have gathered to play pilota for 150 years.

The bar, with stools upholstered with a fabric inspired by the Albufera natural park’s plants and herons, is separated from the kitchen by an iron bar. Photography by Luis Beltrán.

For the court’s restaurant, Nebot needed to capture the essence of the sport without interfering with the twice-weekly games. “It’s designed to be up high,” Serra says, “so that when people to see the games they don’t bother the diner, but still have access to the bar.”

The palette revolves around the Valenican pilota colors: blue, in the velvet-covered banquettes, Porcelanosa kitchen backsplash tiles, and table tops; red, for custom storage pieces; and white, in the form of marble flooring. A hand tossing the ball hangs over the banquettes—a playful tribute to a sport taken seriously enough that locals refer to the court, accessible in the back, as the Cathedral of the Ball. 

Custom backlit numbers hang below a sculpture of a hand throwing the pilota ball, made of pine twig. Photography by Luis Beltrán.
Mirrors echo the ball shape. Andreu World designed the tables, while the chairs are by Capdell and TON. Photography by Luis Beltrán.
Flos pendants hang over a custom table and Capdell chairs by the entrance to the trinquet. Photography by Luis Beltrán.
The Cathedral of the Ball has walnut benches and a glass roof covered by an interior awning. Photography by Luis Beltrán.
Vinyl covers the ceilings of the bathroom, which features Persian white marble floors and walls and Porcelanosa faucets. Photography by Luis Beltrán. 

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