A concept based on water flows within the monochrome grey Mo’s bakery, espresso bar

Conceived by Masquespacio for Mo and RightGrain, this bakehouse and coffee bar in Saudi Arabia incorporates the three states of water across its interiors, furniture and décor.

by STIRworldPublished on : Sep 16, 2022

Experiential retail design has greatly evolved into an aesthetic phenomenon, merging with other typologies across hospitality, entertainment, fashion, cosmetics, religion, and many more, to create attention-grabbing, spatial permutations and combinations, urging social media influencers to flaunt the space, its ambience and what it caters to. But even then, how many of us really take out time to venture into these spaces, not just for the cuisine but for its décor, interiors and spatial programme? How can eateries, bars and cafe designs ensure customer interactions and increased visits in an era of fast-food dining and takeaway orders?

The interiors of Mo’s bakery and coffee bar displays a monochrome grey aesthetic | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
The interiors of Mo’s bakery and coffee bar displays a monochrome grey aesthetic Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

Spanish design agency Masquespacio, known for their warm and zany interiors, presents their first project for the brand Mo, a bakery and espresso coffee bar located in Prince Turkey Street, Alkurnaish, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Captivating guests with its monochrome, fairy-tale, suspended interiors, the hospitality design was commissioned by Omar and Asim from RightGrain, an experience-based company that tasked Masquespacio to create an interior design that would stand out, create interactions between the brand and customers and be community driven.

Mo bakehouse and coffee bar is located on Prince Turkey Street in Saudi Arabia | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
Mo bakehouse and coffee bar is located on Prince Turkey Street in Saudi Arabia Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

"It was clear from the beginning that Omar and Asim were ready to challenge us and we were ready to challenge them," relays Christophe Penasse, co-founder, Masquespacio, who designed an engaging, "parallel universe" for the project “to get away from the traditional”. The project was recently announced the winner of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2022.

Mo’s bakery and coffee bar designed by Valencia-based Masquespacio was announced winner of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2022 | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
Mo’s bakery and coffee bar designed by Valencia-based Masquespacio was announced winner of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2022 Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

During initial conversations, one of the primal facets to be highlighted was zeroed down to the baked goods being the main attraction of the bakehouse and espresso bar, "presented in the space as jewels with authentic and renewable flavours," the Spanish designers share.

The concept of the interiors is based on ‘water’| Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
The concept of the interiors is based on ‘water’ Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

For the same, Masquespacio began to develop a concept based on 'water', a powerful element in nature which creates life and magic and is also one of the key ingredients, or base for baking. "At the same time water is an element that can distort reality and change our point of view, which is the perfect matching point with MO's philosophy to do things differently," adds Ana Milena Hernández Palacios, co-founder, Masquespacio.

A massive, fairy-tale like waterfall is recreated for the white and silvery bar zone | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
A massive, fairy-tale like waterfall is recreated for the white and silvery bar zone Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

The Valencia-based studio ditched their signature use of multi-colour, pastel and bubblegum colour palettes as well as varied textured furnishings for this 400 sqm interiors, following their adopted concept of flowing water. At first glance, the photographs almost seem shot in greyscale, with absolutely no signs of colour within the space.

A huge cluster of cylindrical lamps and fire bulbs front the bar, to represent the solid and gaseous state of water | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
A huge cluster of cylindrical lamps and fire bulbs front the bar, to represent the solid and gaseous state of water Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

The project is sectioned into three different parts, each representing a phase in making baked goods and brewing coffee, with water as the main ingredient. The first one embodies the "liquid state" where the dough is mixed with water, the space becoming the nexus for all the other areas inside.

Mo’s branding at the kitchen and coffee bar’s backsplash done in muted white tiles | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
Mo’s branding at the kitchen and coffee bar’s backsplash done in muted white tiles Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

A massive, fairy-tale-like waterfall is recreated for the white and silvery bar zone, manifesting as surreal shifting skies for the central point of the space, with products on sale on full display. This was created by sandblasting each tube to create the illusion of the shape of water and frosting, as a "feeling of what is beyond".

The bar area as seen during the day (top); and illuminated at night (bottom) | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
The bar area as seen during the day (top); and illuminated at night (bottom) Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

The "solid-state" of water as ice is portrayed and positioned in front of the bar design, where a huge cluster of cylindrical lamps represent the crystalline solid as the main attraction. Next to them reside a series of oversize, "fire" bulbs that embody the "gaseous state", signifying the moment when pastry gets baked inside an oven’s fiery hot insides.   

  • Each piece of furniture design for the white and grey interior design was made bespoke | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
    Each piece of furniture design for the white and grey interior design was made bespoke Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio
  • The metallic coffee bar top | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
    The metallic coffee bar top Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

Every decor item and piece of furniture design employed has been made bespoke for MO Al Khobar, providing a myriad of seating options and in turn, different experiences, for visitors. These include low lounge seating and shared tables to high stools and semi-private couple seating. For the tables and fabrics, a grey and white colour palette with metallic finishes further the futuristic, greyscale aesthetic, generating reflections that create evanescence, distortion and dynamism as if made of water.

The lighting design integrates controllable RGB lighting according to varying moods once the sun sets | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
The lighting design integrates controllable RGB lighting according to varying moods once the sun sets Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

The lighting design fully incorporates controllable RGB-lighting to set varying moods, converting the space to multiple statuses, such as a campaign meeting area, event space, dinner and more. This is also extended by the reflections of the space in chrome fabrics, tables and shiny spheres and reflective orbs creating another level of optical fusion. The bakehouse and coffee bar is conceived as a space that is "not solid" – "It is interchangeable and dynamic, following what the brand has to say. Welcome to the new mood branding,” the interior designer adds.

  • Metallic finishes are employed across the café, to create reflections “of reality and a portal to surrealism” | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
    Metallic finishes are employed across the café, to create reflections “of reality and a portal to surrealism” Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio
  • For most surfaces, a grey and white colour palette with metallic finishes further the futuristic, greyscale aesthetic, generating reflections as if made of water | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
    For most surfaces, a grey and white colour palette with metallic finishes furthers the futuristic, greyscale aesthetic, generating reflections as if made of water Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio
  • Details of the Saudi Arabian café’s interior | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
    Details of the Saudi Arabian café’s interior Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

Concerning the furniture, every item has been customised and designed by Masquespacio, offering different seating options to create different experiences for the visitors from low lounge seating and shared tables to high stools and semi-private couple seating. For the contemporary design, a grey and white colour palette have been chosen with metallic finishes for the tables and fabrics, to generate distorting, evanescent reflections, as if those surfaces are made of water.

The myriad types of bespoke seating created for the bakehouse | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
The myriad types of bespoke seating created for the bakehouse Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

“Mo is a parallel universe. A space where all aspects have been touched by the unknown, the food, the drinks and the interior. The huge mirror on the ceiling, raised 10 meters from the ground, represents a gate to another world. A reflection of reality and a portal to surrealism,” concludes Asim Al Harthi, co-founder of Mo.

  • A huge mirror raised 10 m from the ground becomes the ceiling of the cafe | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
    A huge mirror raised 10 m from the ground becomes the ceiling of the cafe Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio
  • The entry signage (L); another type of seating with bollard orb lights (R) | Mo bakehouse and coffee bar by Masquespacio | STIRworld
    The entry signage (L); another type of seating with bollard orb lights (R) Image: Courtesy of Masquespacio

A neutral aesthetic of whites and greys accompany glossy and matte, metallic textures, interrupted by flowing, sinuous forms as much as illuminated orbs and flat surfaces, like water flowing, freezing and evaporating, to create a social space that both intrigues and energises. Masquespacio's exercise in a muted yet surreal layout for this bakehouse and coffee bar also reveals how interior design can influence the way people perceive and use the space which almost comes off as a sculptural installation.

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