interior of a restaurant bar with a complex metal structure surrounding it

A New Restaurant in Cairo Offers Fresh Takes on Nature’s Forms

Designed by local firm Badie Architects, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant features a little bit of whimsy and a lot of innovation.

If Salvador Dali designed a haute restaurant in Scandinavia, the result might look something like the recently-opened Esca Terrenal in Egypt’s New Cairo City. Completed in 2021 by local firm Badie Architects, the complex design blends midnight-in-the-jungle vibes with industrial metal and concrete to create a modern, organic sense of movement. “The main incentive was to make something original to match the identity of the brand,” says the project’s lead architect Mohamed Badie. “We wanted to create something people would question.”

A bit of whimsy and a lot of innovation went into the Mediterranean restaurant’s experimental design, where raw materials are layered and manipulated to form dreamy, undulating lines throughout the 1,944-square-foot interior. “I’ve wanted to experiment with metal fabrication for a long time,” says Badie. “We’ve used metal in previous designs, but never at this level of complexity—I had to improvise a lot during the construction.” To humanize the industrial metal elements, the team created an elaborate, fluid installation that revolves around Esca’s entire dining area. An intricate lattice of matte black metal bars crawls along the perimeter walls, stretching across corners to form a web of parallel lines. The distinctive feature evokes both mathematical graphs and the organic spread of kudzu.

interior of a restaurant with concrete walls and floors

interior of a restaurant with concrete walls and floors

Located in large-scale commercial development 5A by The Waterway, which boasts roughly 380,000-square-feet of office space, restaurants, and retailers, Esca is designed to offer diners a unique experience. From the barstools to the outside seating structures, no corner of the space was spared in pursuit of intriguing shapes. Even the deconstructed bathrooms create a sort of abstract geometry, contrasting the sleek metal with organic curves for a surprisingly coherent effect. “It’s a space for artists and foodies alike,” says Badie.

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Because of the complexity of the design, no contractor was willing to work on executing it, so the firm did all the fabrication in-house. “Everything in the space is custom made,” says Badie. “We stay familiar with the latest digital design technology and fabrication methods. We like challenging conventional architectural paradigms.” The result is a sort of “deconstructed pavilion” that feels both natural and technical.

“The design journey can shape human lives and future behaviors,” says Badie. “I believe that now there is more room than ever for experimentation. The possibilities are endless.”

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