Mercado Little Spain
Walk through the streets of Mercado Little Spain in New York City, enjoy Spanish cuisine, and admire beautiful ceramic tile designs.
Located in New York’s new district, Hudson Yards, the Spanish chef José Andrés, together with fellow chefs Albert and Ferran Adrià, launched the Mercado Little Spain project as a modern avant-garde gastro version of the traditional Spanish market. This all-day culinary excursion pays homage to the culture and cuisine of Spain, surrounded by creative tile applications unique to each venue.
Mercado Little Spain boasts more than 3,200 square meters of space divided into different restaurants and areas with various styles, flavors, and designs. Spanish culture is present not only through the cuisine, but also through the design and decoration of each area. The project was carried out by the Spanish Capella García Studio and has over fifty different tile installations. One of the main challenges the design team faced was finding tiles conveying the spirit of multiple Spanish regions, along with complementing Spain’s rich cuisine. The overall goal was to add unique character to each area in the market.
The design concept of the culinary space for Mercado Little Spain is inspired by two main ideas: a market and a town.
To create the atmosphere of a market, the design team configured a path through small streets to stroll, shop, or taste from many stops under one great structure. Lively and full of color, these spaces are meant to be a new alternative to traditional supermarkets.
A town can be described as a labyrinth of irregular small streets, which normally converge in the town square. Like a town, Mercado Little Spain is meant to feel less organized, with peculiar spaces and rounded aisle corners to provide a more organic look.
To compliment Chef José Andrés’ 100% Spanish cuisine, the space was designed with materials and furniture from renowned Spanish companies. Many artistic works inside Mercado Little Spain were made by Spanish artists. It is more than just a themed restaurant; it is a space of genuine Spanish vanguard design.
When it was time to pick the floor coverings for this elaborate project, there was only one choice: ceramic tile. Ceramic tile has a rich history and tradition in Spain, and tile’s high-resistance, easy-to-clean, and hygienic properties make it ideal for restaurant areas. Above all, ceramic tile allows for an infinite amount of possibilities, which was needed for the multitude of spaces in Mercado Little Spain. Because of ceramic tile’s versatility, the designers were able to create each space to be identifiable by its ceramic tile look.
Mercado Little Spain has three main restaurants— Spanish Diner, Mar, and Leña. Each restaurant takes on a different design style. Spanish Diner is meant to feel like a typical city diner with a Spanish twist with industrial look ceramic tile on the floors and a floral tile backsplash that separates the kitchen from the dining area. For Mar, the designers used wood-look ceramic tile to accent the hip, busy vibe of this seafood restaurant and decorative tiles are adorn the walls of the restaurant’s entrance. Ceramic tile is highlighted in Leña as well. Tile covers the walls and sides of the counters and a geometric pattern tile floor draws your eyes into the restaurant.
All the “streets” leading to the heart of Mercado Little Spain are tiled. The meandering streets form a walking circuit leading to the Plaza Alta (High Square). Here, visitors can relax and enjoy their food. Each stop along the way has a little touch of ceramic tile to make every area uniquely defined and decorated.
Completed in March 2019, this Coverings and Installation Design award-winning project is built to last and accommodate the traffic of many visitors.
Inside and out, the Los Gatos Library is an inviting place that has welcomed a new chapter in this community’s very special story.
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