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Irena mermaid - an unusual establishment with two faces

08 of August '22

In Warsaw, on the first floor of the tenement house on Krakowskie Przedmieście at number 4, where Stanislaw Wokulski, the hero of Boleslaw Prus' "Lalka", lived, is located Syrena Irena - an unusual establishment with two faces.

pierogarnia znajduje się na parterze kamienicy w centrum Warszawy Syrena Irena to nietypowy lokal o dwóch obliczach

The pierogarnia is located on the first floor of a tenement in the center of Warsaw

photo: PION Studio

The design of the interior, where one can eat pierogi prepared on the spot (the space is designed so that customers can watch the cooks at work) was created in cooperation between the architectural studio Projekt Praga, the Mamastudio office responsible for visual communication and illustrator Ola Sadownik.However, it is not a typical pierogarnia - at night Irena takes over the reins of the establishment named after a Warsaw symbol and the restaurant turns into a bar.

dwie ściany pokrywa tapeta przedstawiająca fragment obrazu Herberta Jamesa Drapera „Odyseusz i syreny”

Two walls are covered with wallpaper depicting a fragment of Herbert James Draper's painting "Odysseus and the Sirens"

photo: PION Studio

The interior is as surprising as the gastronomic fusion of the pierogi and alcohol concept - the space divided by the building's original arches is inscribed with strong color accents, such as the wallpaper covering two walls depicting a fragment of Herbert James Draper's painting "Ulysses and Sirens" in a monochromatic, intense blue. Other unobtrusive mermaid accents are also worth noting, discernible in the low railings with a subtle scale pattern and a neon sign of similar form hung over the entrance area of the premises.

trójkątne taborety to model Finn projektu Buck.Studio silne kolory balansują subtelniejsze, jasne odcienie na ścianach i podłogach

The mermaid accent can also be seen in the balustrades with a subtle scale pattern

photo: PION Studio

What else will Syrena Irena surprise us with?
Karolina Tunajek, an architect from the Projekt Praga studio, talks about the project.

Ola Kloc
: Mermaid Irena pleases the eye. The restaurant takes the place of a former hotel café, located in the first floor of a 1950s building on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. How did this interior and surroundings influence the design of the arrangement?

Karolina Tunajek: We tried to make good use of the assets of the room with its beautiful arcades and balance the atmosphere of the former café with elements of lesser seriousness. The combination of classical and entertainment motifs illustrates the main idea of the premises, which is patronized by a mermaid with two faces - daytime (Mermaid serving dumplings) and nighttime (Irena serving liquor).

nocą lokal zmienia swoje oblicze

At night, the restaurant changes its face

Photo: PION Studio

: The interior does not lack original forms, various materials and bold colors. Also impressive is the painterly wallpaper - where did you get the idea for such a choice and combination of textures, colors and patterns?

Karolina: When we joined the project, the culinary concept and graphic identity of the premises were already well advanced. To a large extent, they gave direction to the interior concept. Their expressiveness, simplicity and carefree, entertaining character we tried to continue, selecting colors, materials and shaping details.

we wnętrzu projektanci starali się łączyć motywy klasyczne i rozrywkowe detal malarskiej tapety

In the interior, the designers tried to combine classical and entertainment motifs

photo: PION Studio

: The restaurant gained not only an unconventional design, but also a visual identity (designed by Mamastudio and Ola Sadownik), which you mention. How did your cooperation go? In what issues did you complement each other, and for which elements did you have completely different visions?

Karolina: It was so fortunate that our ideas went in a similar direction. We wanted the graphic identity and interior elements to build the atmosphere of the premises together. We worked together on how to bring graphics into the third dimension and spread them around the premises, going beyond standard elements such as logos and menus, and introducing graphics in the form of wall decorations, cut-outs or neon signs.

kontrasty kolorystyczne pierogi w lokalu Syrena Irena

Dumplings in the premises of Syrena Irena

Photo: PION Studio

: I get the impression that you more often take on strictly architectural themes than those related to interiors. What gives you the most pleasure in designing the latter?

Karolina: It's true, for several years now, thanks to the fortunate winning of several competitions, we have been focusing our activities on the design of public buildings. However, we haven't completely abandoned interiors, especially gastronomy - recently we had the opportunity to design Burger Bar on Brzeska Street and Taproom in Tenczynku. The most enjoyable thing about such projects is the opportunity to focus more on the atmosphere and details, as well as tastings during site supervisions.

Ola: Thank you for the interview!

interviewed: Ola Kloc

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