Biribildu, a fast-food joint in Athens by architect Minas Kosmidis, takes the fun of the fairground as its main inspiration, while still managing to stay on the right side of good taste.

The restaurant’s main fare is gyros (Greek meat snacks cooked on a vertical rotating spit) which put the idea of turning and revolving into Kosmidis’ head. From there, the images of carousels and round circus tents decked out in red and yellow stripes became key references for the project.

The kitchen, toilets and storage are housed in three wooden boxes, which call to mind those used to transport circus paraphernalia. The cash counter is dressed like a tiger’s cage and bright lights and ornate ironwork hang over the serving  space.

Going overboard on a circus-themed space would have been all too easy to do, but Biribildu manages to use graphics and details with enough restraint to avoid a total pastiche. It’s also a good reminder that design doesn’t need to always take itself so seriously.