Pérgula is the all-day dining restaurant in one of the world’s most iconic hotels, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro. The project has reinvented the restaurant, creating a wining and dining destination for hotel guests and locals alike. Belmond was a long-standing client and invited Muza Lab to visit Copacabana Palace and offer their recommendations for an up-grade of Pérgula. What they saw made them tremendously excited about the potential. Together, client and designer became convinced that they should not look at the restaurant in isolation, and that the special opportunity and the key to creating a unique destination restaurant infused with Cariocas spirit was to approach indoors and out as one.
The resulting brief was to create an all-day and evening experience that flowed effortlessly between the interior, the exterior verandah and the poolside and which transitions seamlessly between daytime and night-time. The re-design was to be true to the glamorous heyday of the restaurant when celebrities partied around the pool, but it was also to be relaxed and accessible. Pérgula now feels like it has been there forever. It quite simply belongs, rooted in location and within the heritage of the hotel, but with a new contemporary aesthetic relevant for the present day.
The design draws on the architectural style and spirit of the hotel, layered with the vibrant character and lush environment of the Cariocas. Creating a seamless link between the interior and exterior was key to achieving this. It is now a space that feels both casual and sophisticated, and a little bit seductive, where guests feel equally comfortable in their pool attire by day and in elegant evening wear by night.
The colour palette takes its cue from the famous Copacabana Beach promenade, with its signature wave design in tones of white with charcoal grey and anthracite. This is overlaid with accents of yellow, in the leather-covered banquette seating, and teal, in the bar tiles and table-tops. The design honours Brazil’s tradition of outstanding furniture design and making. The interiors combine mid-20th Century pieces, It is a fantasy depicting the flora & fauna that might have once proliferated in Copacabana.