El Portillo, Spain
A sad-looking, traditional wood cabin (think tree trunks and a pitched roof) has been transformed into a snappy hamburger joint at the Javalambre ski station in Teruel, northern Spain.
The black exterior, ornamented with white animal graphics - care of artist, Pepa Prieto - cuts a striking figure, enveloped, all around, by a landscape of snow. Inside, taking advantage of the scarce light that occurs on cloudy winter days, the approach is white again.
Using the fewest number of elements possible, Stone Designs of Madrid has created a soft, warm environment out of an oddly shaped, chilly space.
Features such as red climbing rope in the pinewood benches create movement, while the corporate green edge of the Nordic-style tables is echoed on the green felt tiles that cover the polycarbonate cylinder lamps overhead. The effect is of a unified ensemble.
The black edge of the bar zone harks back to the exterior and creates contrast and depth, while charming touches such as the menu - written directly onto masking tape so it can be changed at whim - and the deer-horn-trophy coat hooks add to the verve of the place and help make El Portillo an inviting niche, in an imaginative and simple way.