Once you’ve passed through the neutral diffusely lighted hallway, which connects the two places, your senses travel to the farther Peru or Chile and the word “fusion”, which was the starting point of the whole projects, is beginning to make sense. The whole signature ambiance is created by intelligently putting together totally different elements. “Eclectic” may be one word to describe it, but “fusion” would be much more appropriate, considering it also referring to the gastronomy area. Hemingway used to believe that eating was an intimate act. Nowadays, the spaces where the meal is served are multi-purposes, many of these being more significant than the primary one, or the feeding purpose itself. In the long run, these spaces have become a significant driver in communication and communion, socialization, escape and leisure, a trigger for all senses, not only for the taste. Think about a space which takes people to the origins of a gastronomic culture, guides them through it and makes them witnesses to its meeting with another. „Fusion cuisine” came with the Europeans’ invasion of America, with the Maoris’ invasion of Spain or the Asians’ migration to South America, mainly in the Peruvian region.
In the present, thanks to the freedom of movement and speech, many other cultures, once intangible to common people, are now accessible to everyone. In big cities, due to the big immigration wave from all around the world, the fusion cuisine is now the standard of many restaurants, which come with new and more spectacular menus everyday. The success of this so-called trend is the result of the people’s demands and standards, who became higher subsequently to this accessibility, and of course, the result of the stimulation of human natural creativity and curiosity.
In order to make and implement such a concept, several creative minds should meet. From visionary chefs who build, experiment, create and combine techniques and ingredients of various cultures, to interior designers, who change the complexity of given surroundings, putting together opposite elements into a harmonious ambiance. The kitchen is one element which resulted from intelligently combining semblance and substance. The designers chose to make it visible for those who look for it and invisible for those who ignore it. Technically, it is “open” to the customer’s eye, but is also surrounded by frames which once were the structure of an arcade and by a module of the “Achille” library. Right next to the library there is a big bright logo showing “Discreet”, in perfect antithesis with the intended message, which “steals” the eye of the customer and draws his attention to the chef’s secrets.
As in Fratellini’s case, almost all elements of Uanderful are hand-made, limited editions, or come from private collections. One special object present here is the Barovier and Toso lamp, which was handmade in Murano in the 50s, and rested on dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s desk during the Communist regime. Another object, namely a Pietà statue, is a remainder of the South American symbols, whether we talk about Madonna or Maradona.
In all Mihai Popescu’s projects, the light, whether natural or artificial, is his trademark. Speaking of light, the first thing catching the eye inside Uanderful is the figure ceiling, which gets moved through a software, turning the whole after-dinner atmosphere into an interactive show. One then may notice “the hanging lights”, which are lamps handmade by the designer himself in traditional glass-processing workshops. The same goes for the wall lamps made from aluminium, with their pressed steel shades and textile electric cables or the ones with delicate brass frames that break the perfection of the American nut tree veneer. The kinetic lamps are genuine machineries moving in real time and thus changing the bar volumetry. Speaking of the bar, the masterwork of the whole place, it is made of thousands of brass flat plates, which make it look like it is constantly changing, due to triangulation principles. Next to the bar, there are several handmade chairs, reminding of a late art deco style.
Nadia Popescu delicately gave her touch to the place, adding warmth, vegetal elements and cleverly selected objects for decorations, enriching the atmosphere with elements of alchemy, music and cinegetics. The marble stereotomies, the Manchester -handmade ceramic-plated elements, the raw treated concrete, the nut tree veneers, the bar and the brass elements emphasize all these details, give them life and create a continuous movement of the colour and texture combination. The Uanderful experience reaches its end with its background frame, namely a former stage, which still makes one feel the vibe of an artistic act, and may also be a tribute to the cabaret and burlesque shows.
For it is located in a classic American building, it has been quite a challenge for Nadia and Mihai Popescu to integrate the eclectic look & feel, which combined the two great cultures of Asia and South America, into a concept whose name means excellence. The challenge has also been the result of a unitary concept, which gave the direction to everything aimed for: design, gastronomy, bar, atmosphere. The thus resulted ambience help the senses awaken by the gastronomy “designers”, namely the chefs who turn a simple dish into pure joy and emotion.