green storefront with a sign that reads "baovan" in Valencia

A Bao Eatery in Valencia Turns the Nautical Theme on its Head

Local firm Clap Studio helps a home food delivery company put down roots with bold geometry and graphical details. 

Baovan has made a name for itself by serving its own Iberian interpretation of bao, the Chinese stuffed bun staple. Using a classic Volkswagen Transporter, the company home delivers its tasty treats to customers around the Valencia region. Inspired by their extensive travels around the world and love of surfing, the brand’s founders base the business on the simple principles of Beach, Beer, and Baos. It recently called on up-and-coming firm Clap Studio to outfit its first brick-and-mortar space, a restaurant that is as much about a contemporary articulation of bold spatial design as it is coastal culture.

“Our goal was to transport the user to a beach from where to watch the sunset and enjoy some handmade baos, so we created a whole experience around it,” notes practice coprincipal Àngela Montagud. She and partner Jordi Iranzo divided the central Valencia locale into three areas, making good use of an awkward floorplan and finding clever solutions for the lack of natural light. While the venue’s exterior features a forest of “dense vegetation” and hung ropes, the entry already hints at the overall project’s beachscape schematic. 

interior of a restaurant in valencia, one side is painted peach and the other side is blue and purple

Rendered in striking tile patterns and semi-circular cutouts that are evocative of the Bao bun’s shape, sky blues and sandy peach helps distinguish between table and countertop setups placed on either side of the main space. Programmed by local creative agency Vitamin Studio, a set-back half-moon screen reconstitutes the different hues and is timed to the general duration of a meal. Above, a layered arrangement of hung, jagged-edged rice paper evokes cloud movement. Behind the central beach staging is a private dining room that can accommodate ten guests. The design juxtaposes sharp formal distillations of natural elements with texture and amorphous finishes.

Reflective of Clap Studio’s unique approach, the outdoor-indoor scheme brings the nearby Balearic Sea coast into the heart of the Spanish metropolis. The practice prides itself on its ability to create experiential environments that truly embody a client’s ethos and drive home their intended messaging. Established in 2017, the small firm adheres to the ideals of simplicity, elegance, and playfulness. 

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With projects like The Sea installation developed for the Valencia World Design Capital program earlier this year or the Hilary Tsui’s retail/food HER concept space in Hong Kong, the duo applies the same bespoke yet emphatically graphic approach to design. The use of industrial material in a visually whimsical, yet technically sophisticated manner is emblematic of Montagud and Iranzo’s shared expertise. Though having only practiced for the past five years, Clap Studio has received over ten accolades, including the German Design Award. 

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