Testing Boqueria’s Kitchen Layout in a Virtual Space

Multiple Locations Nationwide
VR Concept

Working with founder of Boqueria Yann de Rochefort and his team, Mancini leveraged our research and development team to create a new means of “acting out a space” before a hammer was ever swung. We are now working with this visionary restaurateur to expand his brand across the US.

Boqueria Design

Typical restaurants are about 5,000 to 7,000 sf in size and feature a 360° bar with tapa station, an open kitchen, main dining room, private dining room, and a luxurious back-of-house space. Layouts and décor are designed to echo the eclectic ambience of traditional Spanish food markets, like the restaurant’s namesake La Boquería in Barcelona, while also recalling the timelessness of mid-century European modernism through the thoughtful use of exposed wood and custom metal accents and light fixtures.

Nashville, TN Location

Boqueria is a Spanish Tapas bar and restaurant chain that initially tapped Mancini to provide services for a new location in Nashville, Tennessee. As part of our work, Mancini delivered a fully interactive model of a new kitchen design for the Boqueria team to test before building using both virtual reality and augmented reality simulations. During a series of sessions engaging these simulations with the client, were able to elicit extraordinary feedback. Pivotal layout decisions were made, shifting equipment locations to increase efficiencies, or raising a shelf up four inches for better sightlines between stations, resulting in a healthy increase in future kitchen output.


Although Boqueria had established design standards prior to our involvement, we’ve been both executing and elaborating upon what came before as we’ve worked on new locations. To take just one example, we’ve been designing a number of custom metal storefronts, a relative rarity in the hospitality field. At the Nashville location, the storefront is part of an operable system that opens up the restaurant interior into a patio, letting the hustle and bustle of both spaces flow into one another.

Boston, MA Location

Located in a long, narrow heavy timber building. In an attempt to widen the perceived space, the design incorporates a series of white oak rounded-corner portals to frame a lower horizon and a wider aperture.

The bar is placed toward the middle of the narrow space to help create a destination, and draw patrons through the series of portals, contrary to typical placements where it would be around the entry. With this placement, all users can enjoy the feature black metal bar gantry ordained with a collection of Spanish décor. A back bar includes a collection of wine and backlit perforated metal liquor displays. Toward the entry of the restaurant, an abandoned brick shaft is repurposed into a private booth area seating up to 8 guests, with an adjacent marble counter top for a buffet or standing room.

Custom steal windows help establish a separation from the private area and vestibule to the restaurant without sacrificing line of sight. Surrounding the restaurant, white oak shelves with a rounded metal frame punch into the wall, providing a cove of light emitting through perforated mesh and Spanish décor to the dining rooms. Along the centerline of the restaurant are large heavy timber columns with an exposed metal base original to the historic building.

Custom light fixture armatures constructed of black pipe, brass and fluted glass extend off of the columns at the midpoint, washing a warm glow to the center communal tables. The light fixtures branching off the columns aim to lower the exposed 20-foot high ceilings to a perceived human scale and offer an alternative to ordinary pendants hanging from above.

Anchoring the restaurant is an open kitchen framed with hand crafted chalkboard menus depicting the Spanish cuisine produced just below it. A restroom corridor reaches off of the main dining room with terrazzo floors featuring blue and bronze speckles to accent the dark blue fireclay tile lined walls.

West Hartford, CT Location

The design of the space revolves around a collection of feature elements that anchor the space and provide smaller, more intimate areas in an otherwise open floor plan. When entering the restaurant, guests are greeted with an island marble bar, faced with a rounded profile white oak tambour, and a blackened metal gantry hanging above.

A niche runs along the perimeter featuring a hand painted custom Spanish mural above and booths tucked away in a warm glowing lime-wash cove with curved black metal accent armatures. Anchoring the main dining room, a backlit fluted glass gantry frames the open kitchen, celebrating the vibrant cuisine, and providing a glow of energy to the layered atmosphere.

The ceilings offer a mixture of dark lower datums and prominent higher datums with glowing wooden slat and beam pockets establishing various dining zones of the restaurant. The layout of the restaurant is zoned to allow for a large 38-seat event area adjacent to a 24-seat private dining room with glass doors. Separating this 60+-person event area is a motorized textured curtain to allow privacy for events. Within this event area, shelves line the walls with backlit perforated metal panels and rounded white oak frames featuring Spanish décor.

A collection of custom light fixtures hang throughout the space providing a refined, contemporary twist to an industrial material palette. In the restrooms, a rusty red vanity with brass accents is surrounded a dark, subtle environment.
Polished concrete floors connect the spaces throughout, providing resilience and neutral stage for the restaurant.

Future Locations

With the success of this process, Mancini is now being leveraged to design, document, and roll‑out three to four new locations per year throughout the United States. We completed our Nashville build-out in late 2021, and are currently working on Boqueria locations in  Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; and New York City.