Madrid café embraces the flat aesthetic

“Let there be light” could very well be the mantra for a very talented artistic trio known as (fos).

Eleni Karpatsi, Susana Piquer and Julio Calvo make up this multidisciplinary team with interest in architecture, interior design, art direction and graphic design.

Their first ephemeral installation by the same name, (fos), is “a visual game between perspective and colored volumes.”

Outside Raven, a vegan eatery in Madrid, these exceptional creatives used yellow tape, painted décor items, pineapples and a lamp to create the appearance of an illuminated property that covers both vertical and horizontal surfaces.

Reminiscent of Van Gogh’s famous Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night, the installation calls to mind the current trend for the flat aesthetic. 


Does the flat aesthetic lend itself to anything but web sites? Would this installation entice you into the café? Let us know in the comments.

  • Tim

    Being an artist myself, this seems very odd. I am unsure how this actually relates to a flat aesthetic? It’s a 3d space with 3d objects. It seems like paint would have been a better choice than tape, as tape will fall off or leave residue when removed. Additionally, the yellow is supposed to symbolize light coming from the lamp, yet they have it continue underneath areas when the light would not really reach, like the ceiling above the door.
    Perhaps this was not really thought through, or the artists just don’t care and they did it for the publiciity?

    • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

      It replaces gradients and shadows with a flat block of colour, so I think that’s pretty clear.

      I doubt very much if they said, “I know, let’s use flat design!” But it’s interesting when similar styles and agendas crop up in different mediums.

      I’d guess they used tape because it’s more temporary than paint.

    • Audrey

      This is art Tim. Art is subjective. Bending reality is expected or it wouldn’t be art.

      The use of tape is necessary. The city of Madrid won’t certainly not let anyone paint a commercial building and the public sidewalk yellow without a brick-thick permit and a hefty fee.

      • Tim

        Well, that’s interesting because the building right next door is painted.
        You would still need to get a permit to put tape all over the place, otherwise you would indeed be looking at a fine.
        Also, those bricks look like they actually need to be painted. They look absolutely horrible.

        As far as replacing gradients and shadows – it isn’t. The shadows are plainly still there. It is a 3-dimensional object. Nothing is going to change that. It seems like another article title intended to attract traffic to the website by use of trendy keywords. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

      • writeby

        “Art is subjective. Bending reality is expected or it wouldn’t be art.”

        Art is a selective recreation of reality based on what the artist considers metaphysically *value* important–a concretization of the values the artist thinks significant. So art doesn’t ‘bend’ reality, it selectively recreates it, drawing focus on certain key aspects consistent with the artist’s view.

        This decorative art, imo, extends rather than flattens the business front. It projects the business outward to the eye by means of color and shape.

        Clever, too.

    • Ivanov Karmazov

      Art is truly subjective. I for one think this is great! Because of art’s subjectivity, Tim’s response is a valid opinion.

      Perhaps it doesn’t match everybody else’s, but it is still an opinion.

      I do love that tape though. How creative. :D!

  • Bianca Board

    That is so weird but very cool at the same time. It’s certainly striking, and I’m willing to bet the cafe got exactly what they wanted out of it (more patrons).

  • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

    Sorry James, it’s not minimalism. It’s not even reductionism.

    Under no circumstances would a minimal approach involve colouring, covering, re-texturing or in any way treating a surface. Minimalism is about the honesty of the selected materials.

    This is a graphic intervention. It’s certainly been done before, then then what hasn’t?

    • James


      “Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, wherein artists intend to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts.
      Minimalism is any design or style wherein the simplest and fewest
      elements are used to create the maximum effect.”

      Minimalism is the removal of embilleshment. The use of simplistic form consistently through a design. In this case, a giant triangle forms the design, ignoring the 3 dimensional elements within it.

      You all really need to brush up on your design theory.

      • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

        Firstly, Wikipedia is not a reliable source for anything. And secondly you made my case for me.

      • Vinícius Philot

        This guy can’t seem to give up on that. No way we see minimalism in this case.

      • James

        Give up on what? A clearly explained analysis supported by source materials? You keep clinging to the bowl of denial, I’ll stick to reality thanks.

      • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

        James, it’s not minimalism. You’re thinking purely in 2D terms, I guess because you’re looking at a photo rather than the piece itself. In this context the paint and tape are the embellishments you’re saying have been removed.

        In the simplest possible terms, if you’re adding *anything* it’s not minimalism.

        Minimalism in this context would be something like the pollution and dirt cleaned from the stone to create the light effect.

      • James

        Benjie, I am sorry, but you are just dead wrong mate.

        “In the simplest possible terms, if you’re adding *anything* it’s not minimalism.”

        That’s taking the concept of minimalism and applying it in the extreme to minimalistic design & architecture. And that is where your analogy falls short.

        The use of a single geometric shape that transcends the 3 dimensional space it occupies (including 3 Dimensional objects), whilst reflecting a single function within the space is exactly what MAKES it minimal.

        I wouldn’t presume to know what I am thinking, either. ;)

      • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

        I’m sorry James, but I’m not.

        It is not, nor will it ever be minimalism. It contradicts everything minimalism seeks to achieve.

  • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

    No, sadly we couldn’t find anything either.

  • Ivanov Karmazov

    Minimal? I think you are mistaken. Minimalism is would remove all objects from the scene and leave perhaps only the door.

    This is clearly a different approach to art.

    I disagree completely.

    • James

      Feel free to disagree, but please see my response above. This IS a minimal design.

  • in_deed
    • will

      thanks! will have to check this place out.

  • Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

    James, it’s not my interpretation. It’s the definition of a movement that was well documented more than half a century ago.

    If Google is really too much to master then here you go: