Olot: Les Cols Restaurant (Spain)

Les Cols Restaurant

Carretera de la Canya, s/n, 17800 Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes (2001-2)

After a sabbatical of 18 months we return with a regular weekly post beginning the year with a suitably festive culinary feast with a golden present in the centre.

(It is the first of 3 projects located on the same site. The others will be revealed in the next 2 weeks.)

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 05_Stephen Varady photo ©

In 2001-02, RCR Arquitectes were engaged by chef, Fina Puigdevall, to convert the ground floor of her family’s Catalan farmhouse in Olot into a new restaurant. Located almost 2 hours drive from Barcelona, it was established as a place to showcase the produce from its own garden and the surrounding region, and has become a world-renowned culinary destination, now with 2 Michelin stars. This is truly a place to be experienced!

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 03_Stephen Varady photo ©

On their website Puigdevall writes, ‘All this environment should favour a cuisine of the rural landscape and the seasonality; simple but essential; austere and humble but intuitive, intimate and authentic. A cuisine that should become the reflection of the way we are. From here, but with the ability to open ourselves to the world, with the aim of reaching universality through the space of the intimate. The splendour of nature. The completeness of life.’

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 01_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 02_Stephen Varady photo ©

Diners arrive at a vine covered opening between the house and the old farm building, where a path constructed of steel plates leads to a new black intervention inserted into the base of the old building.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 04_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 07_Stephen Varady photo ©

Before the entry, a pond and vine trellis conceal a courtyard that allows natural light and ventilation into the kitchen. The kitchen however is on view to guests from inside the restaurant – a place of neat and meticulous preparation.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 09_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 08_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 20_Stephen Varady photo ©

Moving past a sculptural entry screen of twisted black steel blades, through a large pivoting entry door, guests enter a black dining room overlooking the entry garden and the restaurant’s own produce garden, complete with chickens.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 11_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 12_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 19_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 13_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 14_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 15_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 16_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 17_Stephen Varady photo ©

Connecting this black dining space to the rear garden of the building is one of the most spectacular dining rooms you will ever find – a magnificent, completely golden clad dining room that totally elevates and celebrates the dining experience. The walls, floor, ceiling and furniture are all finished in metallic gold, combining with gold metal versions of the twisted steel entry screens acting as veils along the walls.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 21_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 22_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 25_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 30_Stephen Varady photo ©

The rear garden is a place to engage with the landscape, and reveals the grandeur of the original house.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 35_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 34_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 33_Stephen Varady photo ©

Adjacent spaces contain private dining rooms, wine cellar and bathrooms.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 40_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 41_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 36_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 38_Stephen Varady photo ©

This is a place of total immersion. A place where you will have one of the best meals of your life, in one of the most dramatic settings you will ever find.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 84_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 100_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 101_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 102_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 104_Stephen Varady photo ©

A place to enjoy the country surroundings, enjoy the local fresh produce, prepared with meticulous care and beauty, within a carefully choreographed and glittering architectural wrapping that parallels the poetry of Fina Puigdevall’s own attitudes to the enjoyment of dining and of life in general.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 58_Stephen Varady photo ©
buckwheat blini, flowers and buckwheat canape, pork dewlap hot sandwich on rustic plate
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 59_Stephen Varady photo ©
buckwheat spaghetti in smoked broth
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 68_Stephen Varady photo ©
summer truffle royale
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 73_Stephen Varady photo ©
shoulder of lamb, sheep milk, thyme
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 74_Stephen Varady photo ©
catalan cheeses
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 75_Stephen Varady photo ©
pear of Sant Joan
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 76_Stephen Varady photo ©
fruit of the season: strawberries, tomato, basil
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 78_Stephen Varady photo ©
volcanic landscape in summer: carob, ratafia, buckwheat, flowers
Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 91_Stephen Varady photo ©
Fina Puigdevall

On the Les Cols website you will find her wonderfully poetic words about the location, the produce, the sustainable principles, accompanied by an equally poetic video of her attitude and approach.

‘…sounds, colours, scents. Stillness, silence and mystery. The soft, warm light. The sky and the earth. The virtuous game of shadows and water. Gravel, grass and flowers. The intimacy of a landscape. The immutable cycle of the seasons.

I try to establish the relationship between each moment and the beauty, and to live intensely every minute. Small things fill me with joy and get me closer to essentiality and to a complete life.

All this environment should favour a cuisine of the rural landscape and the seasonality; simple but essential; austere and humble but intuitive, intimate and authentic. A cuisine that should become the reflection of the way we are.

From here, but with the ability to open ourselves to the world, with the aim of reaching universality through the space of the intimacy. The splendour of nature. The completeness of life.’

Then you may like to reflect upon RCR Arquitectes own description:

The project of evocation.

Evoking the past. The rural house with its triple-bay structure, big dining room, porches for passing the time in.

Evoking self-sufficiency. The kitchen garden with cabbages, hens pecking, fruit trees in bloom.

Evoking life in the open air. To sit on the porch and eat, surrounded by air, by plants, aromas, views, without foregoing the mystery the stout walls keep in.

Evoking sensuality. To immerse oneself in a world full of champagne, vegetal curtains, suggestive filters, seats in flower.

Evoking culinary art. Displayed against a neutral background: colours, flavours, different textures, a careful and laborious preparation for a moment of pleasure.

Evoking the electronic card. A perfectly designed circuit for arriving at the perfect dish and an extreme flair.

Evoking the future. In which virtual and real images are confused and where steel substitutes for wood, clay, whitewash and water, in which the dampness gives way to the dry.

Evoking time. In which vision of the moment allows one to traverse time in the direction of both the past and the future, in the trilogy of the dining room, hall and kitchen.

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 108_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 109_Stephen Varady photo ©

Les Cols Restaurant, Olot, Spain - RCR Arquitectes 111_Stephen Varady photo ©

 

Further Information:

Place: Les Cols

Architect: rcr architectes or World Architects Profile

Photographer: Stephen Varady

Review:  Michelin Guide 2018

Publications:  A+U 549 and Museo ICO Catalogue

Map: Les Cols Map

 

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