Ana Rita Martins
Sofia Pinto Basto
SIA Arquitectura is a design studio based in Lisbon founded in 2007.
We've started with the desire to inhabit the city. Not in a merely utilitarian way, but seeking an ambition of identity and comfort that we believe the city can offer. The practice of architecture involves decisions, taken with the conviction that small actions, accurate and relevant, naturally amplify.
This is the time and circumstance. Listening is the exercise of our profession.
Mezze was created by Associação Pão a Pão, a non-governmental organization that aims to promote the integration of refugees and immigrants through training, employability and empowerment. They opened a restaurant serving Middle Eastern cuisine in Mercado de Arroios, a city market in a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Lisbon, with the intention of creating a multicultural space where people could come together to share cultures, meals and experiences. The restaurant was designed with a wide central dining space with a large table. Facilities such as the kitchen and toilets were placed on the periphery. The lamps create an atmosphere reminiscent of a different culture, with a veiled light that defines the space. Large windows were left clear to make the interior of the market visible from the street, opening the dining space to the world. The construction was organic, incorporating donated materials from various construction companies.
At a later stage, an adjacent space was used for the expansion of the kitchen area. A large chimney was designed, matching the scale of the table. The large windows make the kitchen visible from the street. The “lioz” limestone balconies and tiled walls in both spaces created a cohesive design.
Mezze has become a local, national and international staple, and has gained recognition through multiple awards, including the PSA Foundation - Peugeot Citroen (France) and the Julia Taft Grant awarded by the US Department of State.