El Molino, Barcelona / by Fernando Salas

El Molino, Barcelona / by Fernando Salas
© Eva Serrats

Fernando Salas shared with us their interior project, El Molino, in Barcelona. El Molino is a theater of reference in Barcelona, Spain. With over one hundred years of existence, has become a cultural institution and sentimental place for the citizens. Listed as a historical and artistic heritage of the city, it was the icon of the golden age of music hall and now evokes a way of understanding and living the show. This cafe-theater was opened in 1898 and closed in 1997. Near 2000 was solded to the company OCIO PURO and it started a restyling to open finally in 2010 as a modern building that collects and preserves the image of the past while featuring the latest technologies in the service of entertainment and spectacle.

El Molino, Barcelona / by Fernando Salas
© Eva Serrats


Taking a step back from all things retro and embracing futurist design, the esthetics of Salas’ redesign of El Molino presents many state-of-the-art technical and lighting surprises that act together to conceive a new way of performance.

The creation of this project has been realized working hand in hand with the architecture, facilities and scenic and visual equipment planned, reaching new special characteristics for this and future projects in terms of esthetic and functional formalities.

El Molino, Barcelona / by Fernando Salas
© Rafael Vargas

As a methodical Interior Designer, Fernando Salas displays his thorough attention to even invisible details. There are no grand decorative gestures where the typical kitsch esthetic has been left behind. El Molino is a call to the future, not a nostalgia based venue. Lighting comes to first order of business, personalizing aesthetics, defining spatial lines and mood ambiance through ingenious LED appliqués and a kaleidoscopic play with colors. Its main stage, stripped of all decorations is illuminated with diverse formulas and can reach far beyond the plateau if a show requires it.

The interior design for the plateau and amphitheaters overshadowed the ostentatious and visible decorative aspects towards a dark, near pitch dark, space with specific lateral backlighting elements that pave the way for chromatic control and a strong sense of light for spatial usage, subordinating the decoration to the service of the show; not only in the main stage, but in its surroundings.

The main lobby still holds its original woodwork façade and stained glass fixtures and leads to El Molino’s access doors to the ticket booth, plateau and video wall.

El Molino, Barcelona / by Fernando Salas
© Rafael Vargas

The main’s stage frame is backlit in gold, creating a diffused halo of light that goes from the curtain line to the sign, emulating the original stage, but with a functional esthetic line according to its space. The stage floor is very versatile (platforms are hidden from spectator’s views) giving the opportunity for diverse necessities according to each show.

The main hall has various seating arrangements that can range from an intimate café-theatre to traditional seating rows that sit a top black oak. The bar area has a distinct jet-black marble finish with an illuminated crystal wine and spirits rack.

The red, Swarovski embossed upholstery brings us right into the music hall aesthetic.

Box seats pave the way through the central hall with their backlight railing that change colors according to performances, while a long table is illuminated indirectly.

El Molino, Barcelona / by Fernando Salas
© Rosa Puig


Located in the third level and independent of El Molino’s main hall. The Golden Bar takes us to a place that glistens through its golden tiles which illuminate a prismatic black marble bar subtly illuminated from above. A projector, located above the bar, shows images throughout the Golden Bar nights.

A black and white photomural of erotic dancer Christa Leem by Catalan artist Josep Ribas and a golden list of previous El Molino performers complement the decoration as well as two large scale black ceramic appliqués that reminisce to Carmen Amaya and Josephine Baker.

Two metallic, backlit with changing colors book shaped lattices complement the lateral sides which illuminate the locale to double lengths.

El Molino, Barcelona / by Fernando Salas
© Rosa Puig

A polyvalent crystallized hall communicates the Golden Bar throughout.

The space also has a large-scale diamond upholstered red sofa with matching cushions surrounded by tables that make any visit to the bar worth talking about.

The rehearsal hall is located in the fourth level. With its all white surroundings and two large light pockets in the ceiling, makes it the most luminous space in the building.

The hall is equipped with dance floor friendly, mirrored walls and a rehearsal railing for any dance/theatre needs. The hall also has spacious dressing rooms and bathrooms.


Project name: El Molino
Location: Sreet Vila i vilà, 99 (Barcelona, Spain)
Designer: Fernando Salas
Desinger team:
Valentí Albareda (Technical Arquitect), Lara Pujol (Interior designer), and Equipo Salasstudio
Completion (date): October 2010
Built area: 1309m2
Client: Ocio Puro, S.L.
Photographers: Rafael Vargas // Eva Serrats
Furniture: Orchestra and amphitheatre- Figueras, SL // Golden Bar – Arazzo, SL // Dressing Room – Amat 3
Finishing materials : Wall: concrete and glass, facade canopy in metallic slats and leds // Floor: black wood // Bar: golden gresite, dark marble and illuminated glass, quilted sofa // Rehearsal Room: technical pavement and walls in white wood.
Capacity: 333 people

Website: www.salasstudio.com