|FIRM||Mercader de Indias|
“The game of the ball is deeply rooted in this land,” says Carlos Serra, owner of the Valencian studio Mercader de Indias. So deeply rooted, in fact, that the Spanish city boasts the longest continually open sports court in Europe: the Trinquet de Pelayo, where teams have gathered to play pilota for 150 years.
For the court’s restaurant, Nebot needed to capture the essence of the sport without interfering with the twice-weekly games. “It’s designed to be up high,” Serra says, “so that when people to see the games they don’t bother the diner, but still have access to the bar.”
The palette revolves around the Valenican pilota colors: blue, in the velvet-covered banquettes, Porcelanosa kitchen backsplash tiles, and table tops; red, for custom storage pieces; and white, in the form of marble flooring. A hand tossing the ball hangs over the banquettes—a playful tribute to a sport taken seriously enough that locals refer to the court, accessible in the back, as the Cathedral of the Ball.