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Haf Studio has recently created a restaurant and bar interior crafted by the local atmosphere, yet influenced by the hospitable nature of Italian cuisine. Mat Bar is another example where the design is informed by its context, as everything from the forks to the light fixtures has been produced by local craftsmen. Behind its unassuming concrete façade, Mat Bar’s bright-green counter and graphic floor tiles impart an unexpected warmth and charm to the interior. Located in a neighbourhood of Reykjavík which has recently undergone a revival, Mat Bar exudes a fresh and inviting atmosphere that complements this context.

‘We were inspired by local cafés and bars which have retained their original 60s architecture and design,’ says designer Hafsteinn Júlíusson of Haf Studio. ‘We wanted to recreate that friendly atmosphere where interior design brings people closer together.’ From concept and branding, Haf Studio was involved in every aspect of Mat Bar’s design and concept to ensure continuity in everything from the menu graphics to the materials and fixtures. Custom lighting and furniture were designed specifically for the space and produced by local craftsmen, which has the practical advantage of maximizing utility of every square metre.

The green walls are complemented by tanned leather upholstery, brown marble counters, solid Italian oak tables, and gold accents. The large bar encourages circulation through the restaurant and adds a casual and inviting ambiance. Serving a fusion of Nordic and Italian cuisine, Mat Bar’s bright, patterned interior and minimal furniture reflect this combination of vibrancy and practicality. Haf Studio sought to create a timeless interior through the modern and elegant application of traditional materials. The result is an unpretentious space that embraces its locality and provides visitors with a holistic visual and culinary experience.

Design: Haf Studio

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