Colour has an ability to change one’s subconscious perception of space: red is associated with danger or excitement, black with mystery or the night sky, blue with the ocean. Customers experience similar impressions when entering Txalupa Gastoleku, a restaurant with El Equipo Creativo-designed interiors that draw on the aquatic essence of the nearby port of San Sebastián.

The coastal area is known for its excellent Basque cuisine, served everywhere from Michelin-starred restaurants to casual tapas bars and fresh markets, and its location brings the freshest seafood to the nearby eateries. It was this locale that inspired interior-design studio El Equipo Creativo to tell the story of the port-side restaurant and bar, which sits on a classic street between the water and the town.

Experienced through touch, taste and colour, the tactile interior of the Pintxos tapas bar is adorned with traditional fishing-net rope, bespoke ceramic tiles handmade by local artisans and a timber-panelled curved bar which references the colourful Txalupa fishing boats common to the area. Intense green and blue hues enrich the main space while calling back to the tones of the deep coastal waters. Deeper into the venue, a vibrant red stairway entices customers down a narrow and mysterious tunnel tinted with red light. The path leads to TX Club, a small speakeasy dining room below ground. Within, timber cladding creates a sophisticated feel recalling that of an old boat cellar.

The designers used colour as the primary strategy to create differentiation between tapas bar and the club, but the visual language of the locality is a uniting motif. A close connection between the colours and oceanic materiality brings a piece of the port in-land, and gives customers a place to eat and drink with a local twist.