HOSPITALITYDESIGN: Maltese Heritage Inspires New Restaurant Barbajean


Will Speros •
January 11, 2021


London- and Malta-based design practice Mizzi Studio pays homage to the Art Deco movement and Maltese heritage at the new eatery Barbajean in Ħad-Dingli, Malta. Barbajean, the studio’s first commercial project in the European country, draws inspiration from the traditional vernacular of Maltese villages—complete with colorful timber doors, informal parapet steps, and midcentury-style terrazzo tiles.

“Working within the village’s particular urban fabric was a key inspiration for us,” says Mizzi Studio director Jonathan Mizzi. “We are very passionate about revitalizing our local heritage in a way that works harmoniously with the functionality of the project. Here, we created a statement corner landmark that respects its surroundings and pays tribute to Ħad-Dingli’s village identity.”

Barbajean’s exterior is punctuated by a gray-pink façade, detailed with pale pink terrazzo borders and emerald-toned timber doors. Reminiscent of Europe’s elegant Art Deco bistros, the bar area anchors the interior with neon accents, speckled pale pink terrazzo, and three tall arches that complement the bar’s timber fluted body. Tubular bespoke brass barstools upholstered in green velvet are arranged around the bar.

Perimeter booths are also marked by green upholstery and tubular forms, inspired by the Art Noveau style of architect Hector Guimard. The holistic design scheme is rounded out by custom light fixtures that establish a rhythmic visual partition. “This project gave us an opportunity to create a new and distinctive design language,” Mizzi adds. “We wanted to design a restaurant that would stand at the core of a quintessential Maltese village experience, one that would give people an opportunity to stop and reflect on beauty of the natural surroundings and nearby cliffs.”

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