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Fueled by a penchant for paella and the enjoyment of hosting gatherings, the owners of this project were seeking to enhance their outdoor entertaining experience. Calling upon her skill in custom concrete design, Dania Andrade Pelayo of ANCUBA rose to the challenge of integrating multiple concrete pieces that create a beckoning social centerpiece while providing a stage to showcase her clients’ culinary skills.
Project Objective + Client Feedback
Andrade Pelayo’s clients come from a Spanish family and love to cook paella, a traditional regional dish. They were looking for a way to incorporate this into an outdoor entertaining area that is not only functional, but easy to maintain in the coastal climate of Baja California. The challenge was to create a special place for both barbecuing and cooking paella where guests could access drinks and have ample space to socialize. The clients were extremely happy with the finished project and unveiled their new outdoor concrete kitchen with a large family gathering at their home.
Design + Expertise
The project took about four weeks to execute: one week to design and three weeks to build. ANCUBA was on a tight deadline to finish the installation before a big party, leaving little time for trial and error. Details were being finished at 10 p.m. the night before the event. The mold making was highly complex but ultimately successful, providing an opportunity to showcase a leafy textural element on the island base developed from a 2009 training held by CHENG Concrete. In the class, Andrade Pelayo built a project with a similar texture and was encouraged to work with the texture and make it her own. Now perfected, the texture has been used in several projects and is recognizable as ANCUBA’s own signature element.
The focus of the outdoor area is the sculptural concrete island designed with grills for both barbecuing and cooking paella; the grills are stored away in the island when not in use. The island cooking platform is at a lower elevation in the elliptical island top so that guests can gather around the slightly elevated bar while giving the cook uninhibited work space. To give the cook enough area to use the island and to improve the traffic flow, one side of the outdoor area houses a concrete bar area with a sink and a built-in cooler where guests access drinks and have room to gather and socialize.
Specific details of the project make it very personal to the clients: handprints of the family’s two children are embedded in the backsplash of the beverage/bar area, along with an old ceramic plate, a family heirloom from Spain, adhered with silicone to ensure it can be removed in the event the owners move from this home.
Though most of the patio countertops are made of CHENG Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mix (Olive, Stone and Charcoal), metal accents are strategically placed throughout: stainless steel strips enhance the sink’s ramped drainboard area and stainless “marbled” appear in the built-in beverage area. A cutting board sits on the marbles and doubles as a cover for the beverage cooler when not in use. A small amount of exposed amber glass aggregate was used in the bar counter to visually tie it in with the tan concrete floor, which is highlighted with slightly larger pieces of amber glass that sparked in the sun. Andrade Pelayo’s entry gained high praise from the judges and is described as “ambitious, nicely executed, artful” and “a consistent, unified whole.”
2011 Best of Show, CHENG Concrete Exchange Design Challenge
Recognized in the industry as the pinnacle of exceptional design and craftsmanship, the CHENG Concrete Exchange Design Challenge showcases talent and technical skill of the very best in creative concrete.
ANCUBA specializes in highly creative custom decorative concrete and design, enabled by their study of architecture and in-depth concrete training. Their partnership with B&A Balderrama y Asociados and B&C Construcciones allows them to provide project and construction management in addition to quality design services. With over ten years of experience, they offer services available to a broad clientele including residential, industrial plants, and commercial shopping centers.