Confronted with a collection of ’60s and ’70s furniture that he’d amassed over three decades, Marcelo Joulia decided to open a restaurant. The French-Argentinean architect set up shop in the first floor of the building that houses the Buenos Aires arm of his international agency Naço Arquitectures in the fashionable Palermo district, turning the space into equal parts gallery and living portfolio and giving it the name Unik.
More than 35 designers (mostly European) are represented among the seating, furniture, lamps and decorative pieces, including Charles and Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, Ron Arad, Frank O. Gehry and Pierre Paulin. Even the dinnerware bears some of the most recognizable names in the biz; plates and silverware are from Bernardeu, Riedel Sambonet and Alessi.
Unik’s gastronomical proposal follows Joulia’s Parisian restaurant Unico and store El Gapón with its focus on Argentinean food and wine. Its kitchen, headed by Mauro Colagreco (the first Michelin-starred Argentinean chef) serves up hearty dishes like rib-eye steak with spinach and leg of lamb with quinoa. Sommelier Rodrigo Calderon and bartender Federico Cuco round out the menu with their expertly-mixed libations.
Besides banquettes, diners can choose to sit at an 18-meter-long bar that divides the open kitchen from the eating area and watch as the food is being made. A garden at one end has 50-year-old palm trees, adding a touch of nature to the surroundings.
Diners who want to know more about the pieces they’re sitting on or using can look through a book that shares the story and designer behind each one. The rest of us can check it out by downloading the book in its entirety from the “La Filosofia” tab on the establishment’s site.