Photography by Alan Smyth
When Drigin & JP McMahon decided to to open Cava Bodega in Middle St, Galway, they knew they had to get the ambiance and atmosphere just right. It was important to have that realistic spanish bodega feel. Grainne O Neill of Architectural Spaces, in collaboration with Drigin, set about recreating an authentic spanish bodega right in the heart of Galway City. Grainne’s brief was to create a space that would make the diner/customer feel as if they had been transported to a spanish bodega.
The space had perviously functioned as a restaurant but Grainne and Drigin felt it didn’t meet the needs of this restaurant. They literally had to strip back the whole place to its bones, thus exposing all the rawness and industrial elements of the building. They decided to make use of it’s rawness and keep the exposed pipes and air conditioning vents, making them part of the interior decor. They opened up the basement area and the ground floor, completely gutting it and giving it a contemporary industrial feel, while also giving it warmth with highly textured fabrics and materials with a strong use of colour.
They used natural timbers and concrete floors throughout the basement – the timber used are authentic scaffolding timber boards, made into counters and for the bar area. A fantastic selection of Spanish wines are housed in a display unit, which was built using scaffolding timber boards, with the drop lighting shaded in wine barrels that were cut in half to make large shades.
Colour was added with with lighting, seating, cushions, wall colour and the signage. The furniture is an eclectic mix of old and new. Some of the chairs came from an old library and are complemented with more modern seating.
Drigin’s sister was commissioned to design the cushion fabric and the lighting in the basement. She came up with a design that was in keeping with the interior of the whole space.
Careful thought and consideration was put into the colour for the exterior. It had to be obvious on the street without being outlandish or garish. The sunny yellow was just perfect, reflecting the spanish influences within.
A very successful collaboration brought Galwegians this authentic spanish restaurant with a genuine Mediterranean ambiance. “Deemed one of most authentic Spanish restaurants in Ireland at present by notable food critics, Cava fosters a way of eating based on sharing and gastronomic interaction: with tapas, food is passed around the table, communal style, the dishes breed discussion and provide an alternative approach to eating
Restaurant Proprietors – Drigin & jP Mc Mahon. Tel: 091 539884
Interior Architect – Architectural Spaces, Tel: 091 533800