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L’Atelier Barcelona. More Ortuño than ever

August 2, 2019
L’Atelier Barcelona. More Ortuño than ever
Luis Concepción

Eric Ortuño (so good #15, so good #11) writes a new chapter for his pastry work. L’Atelier Barcelona is a multispace that opened its doors in Barcelona combining school and shop, training and creations signed by the master pastry chef. Along with Ximena Pastor as a partner, and two of his disciples as heads of the workshop, Mohamed Sibari and Ester Roelas, Ortuño launched a project in the Barcelona Eixample, more than enough reason to become one of the star articles in issue 466 of Dulcypas, our Spanish pastry magazine.

A year and a half ago, Eric Ortuño was having dinner at the restaurant Pakta with pastry chefs such as Frédéric Bau, when the head of the pastry and snack station at Albert Adrià’s Enigma, Ximena Pastor, proposed setting up something together. Ximena Pastor knew that he was looking for a personal project and, from the first moment, “we were very clear that the future L’Atelier Barcelona would be a school and shop with Eric’s creative line,” he says. After searching intensely for a place that met the conditions they wanted, they found in Barcelona’s Viladomat street a 90% renovated building with an open space, about 500 square meters. Work began in December and just three  months later, on March 18, the school, with three classrooms and a workshop was already functioning at full capacity. The set-up of the store has been waiting a little longer and has opened its doors this past Easter.

 

“The Atelier is a total concept, there are no divisions or barriers between the different spaces because we know that one cannot function without the other. It is a 360º project ”

 

L’Atelier Barcelona combines Eric Ortuño’s pastry creativity and the conceptual development of Ximena Pastor, which connects the product with an innovative interior design and design. Virginia del Barco (Ideo Arquitectura), Nan 2016 prize for the best Spanish project for the design of Bread and Cakes of Alcalá de Henares, was in charge of the interior design; the work was the responsibility of Arteco; and the corporate image is a work signed by Àlex Català, from Mr. Ripley. All these professionals have worked freely to give their best and enrich the school/pastry shop and its creations. A unitary concept has been designed, explains the Costa Rican  chef Ximena Pastor, committed to the integration between the school, the workshop and the store. “The Atelier is a total concept, there are no divisions or barriers between the different spaces because we know that one cannot function without the other. It is a 360º project, ”adds Ortuño.

“Generally when you go to a shop, you don’t know who made the pastry, what ideas and concepts are behind each creation. Our store is the stage where the play is performed, but the real theater is backstage, and that is the school and the workshop,”says  Pastor. At L’Atelier, students can see how their creations are accepted by the customers in the shop, and customers can see what is happening in the workshop and at the school, while consuming a product that is the result of what is happening behind the scenes.

 

“It is time to go further than we have done so far, further in product quality too. It is time to complete a style”

 

In the shop, a new architectural concept is presented that is linked to a different way of selling pastry. “The customer does not go up to a shop assistant who attends them behind the counter. We were looking for something more dynamic, with a central table and that customers could walk around, circulating freely through the shop and through a corridor that surrounds the school and the workshop,” he says. The interior design of the shop is impressive. As Virginia del Barco details, it is part of a risky but captivating idea. The store shows two opposing worlds: the disorder of an artist’s creative atelier and the sophisticated and orderly place in which their work is exhibited, pastry products. Thus the bare walls of the premises, which show the installations, wiring, pipes and drainpipes, represent the chaos of the artist’s creative atelier in front of the sophistication and the delicate display in the showcase of the pastry creations .

The school

Training is the main focus of this project. Ortuño is convinced that there is still a huge field to go in this direction. “Pastry enthusiasts do not hesitate to invest in their passion, while professionals are forced to recycle,” argue Ortuño and Pastor. Not surprisingly, it was the first thing to start at L’Atelier Barcelona.

Among the training offer there are long-term pastry courses of different levels and interesting monographs, limited to 16 places, to specialize in step-by-step pastries, tea time, ice cream desserts, and cocas de San Juan. In addition, the school proposes this year attractive basic courses (updated classic cakes, chocolate, and pastries) and intensive courses (tea pastries and travel cakes, the individual cakes of l’Atelier, pastries and updated doughs). And during the month of July, four three-hour sessions will be given with creations that will bear the seal of L’Atelier.

The product

But beyond an attractive and original global concept, beyond a groundbreaking and risky interior design, what raises more expectation is the product offer. There is no doubt that the style and flavors of Eric Ortuño will be recognizable and that the classics will continue to occupy an important place in his showcase, although worked under different and innovative formats. However, the product will evolve with space and with the help of a creative team composed of all those interior designers who have contributed to this project, as well as those who will also contribute from now on. One of them is the Makeat studio of digital manufacturing, professionals who have designed a chocolate bar for L’Atelier inspired by the Barcelona Eixample. Another example is the polycarbonate that decorates the shop and is part of the translucent walls of the school, which has been developed for many other functions in the company of pastry products (to serve pastries, for example).

 

“We don’t want to be out of reach, we want it to be popular”

 

In L’Atelier, the seal of Eric Ortuño is very present, but “it is time to go further than we have done so far, further in product quality as well. It’s time to complete a style, ”says the chef. To do this, he also has two of his disciples during his previous stage at the Hofmann School, Mohamed Sibari and Ester Roelas. They will be the heads of the workshop.

Like the school and the store, the creations will be accessible to a wide audience because “we don’t want to be out of reach, we want it to be popular,” says Ortuño. In this line, his famous pastries will also be available to those who want to “come to breakfast every day,” he says.