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Austin’s Top Chef Competitor to Open Mexican Eatery on Rainey

Austin’s Top Chef Competitor

to Open Mexican Eatery on Rainey

 

 

For a taste of the Yucatan, head to Rainey Street District, run by an Austin-based top chef.

Chef Gabe Erales, currently the 18th season contestant of Bravo’s top chef and master of Mexican cuisine, will open his first restaurant – a Mexican-inspired restaurant called Bacalar, which draws influence from different regions of the Yucatan peninsula where Erales has his family .

Bacalar, slated to open next fall, will anchor the ground floor of 44 East Ave Residences, the sleek skyscraper currently under construction on the shores of Lady Bird Lake.

Bacalar is a partnership between Erales and Austin-based owner and CEO of Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors, Kevin Burns, and the company’s lead designer, Merrill Alley. Burns and Alley, who recently launched Urbanspace’s first hospitality concept, Codependent Cocktails and Coffee in the Seaholm District, bought the first floor retail space at 44 East Ave and sought out Erales for the new restaurant partnership.

“I’m very excited to partner with Urbanspace as my relationship with Kevin and Merrill have shown me their true potential in developing projects that are not only unique and exciting, but also a milestone for the Austin community.” says Erales. “I’ve been a close friend of Merrill and her family for 10 years. During this time we exchanged our professional passions, dreams and goals and at the same time witnessed our professional growth. I knew that one day we could create something special together. “

Erales’ previous cooking stints in Austin include chef work at downtown Comedor and local favorite Dai Due Taqueria.

Although the new restaurant’s menu is still under development, the concept is based on Erales’ family memories of Bacalar, the historic and stunning Mexican lakeside town north of Belize, including its good experiences with local flavors and cuisine. Bacalar will also draw on the concept of “La Milpa”, with Erales emphasizing the personal relationships with the farmers he sources from and the ingredients he will highlight in his dishes. And you can bet the menu features odes to traditional Mexican corn and chilli, two of the chef-selected ingredients.

“We love working with passionate, talented people, and Gabe really is the best of the best,” says Burns. “His attention to detail in the preparation of his dishes matches the attention to detail we bring to the environments we create. This concept is about creating an appealing and harmonious setting in which Gabe’s talent takes center stage. “

While fans of Erales’ food will have to wait about a year to dine at Bacalar, they can catch him at Top Chef, the high-stakes culinary competition that airs Thursday night on Bravo.

 

Story taken from Dailyaustinnews.com 

Urbanspace Favs | Top 5 ATX Hotel Pool Passes

Top 5 ATX Hotel Pool Passes

 

Photo from: Travel + Leisure

 

 

Treat yourself with a day in the sun sipping your favorite cocktail and lounging poolside at some of the top hotels across the city. While you’d like to enjoy the luxury hotel pools offer without having to book a hotel room, plenty of Austin hotels allow non-guests to make a splash just for the day. Check out our Urbanspace Top 5 Hotel Pool Passes below!

 

Fairmont Austin: This spacious rooftop pool at The Fairmont offers resort-style amenities with a sophisticated city center backdrop. The expansive pool and whirlpool, situated on the 7th floor of the luxury hotel, present the perfect summer retreat. Day passes are available for outside guests to purchase Monday through Thursday. Adult passes are $40, and children are $25. (101 red river st, 78701) 

 

The LINE Austin: Enjoy a cocktail and a swim with the best vista in town at the LINE Austin’s lakeside salt water infinity pool. Overlooking the Congress Avenue Bridge, Lady Bird Lake and the lush Austin skyline, it’s a spot that will make you forget you’re in the heart of the city. The pool is reserved for hotel guest use only on weekends, with guest passes available for purchase on weekdays. Adult passes are $40, and children are $25. (111 e cesar chavez st, 78701)

 

Austin Motel: Austin Motel’s iconic kidney-shaped pool is now open for reservations Friday through Sunday from 12 – 8 p.m. Reservations are $40 a person for a two hour block and are available for parties up to 5. (1220 s congress ave, 78704)  

 

South Congress Hotel: The pool at South Congress Hotel is the perfect combo of chic and simple. Snack on the fresh, farm-to-table fare of Café No Sé while you lounge. Non-hotel guests can access the pool with daily passes for $40, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. To book your pool day, call 512-920-6405 or email [email protected] your name and requested date and time. (1603 s congress ave, 78704)

 

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt: Soak up the sun or breathtaking views of Lady Bird lake while relaxing poolside at Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt. With a refined design, luxurious lounge chairs, and premium cabanas, the Kimpton is an ideal daytime retreat. Day passes start at $38 for adults and $15 for children. (605 davis st, 78701

 

 

Urbanspace Favs | Top 5 ATX Swimming Spots

Top 5 ATX Swimming Spots

 

Photo from: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/Getty Images

 

 

With Summer approaching fast and furious, you’ll definitely need a place to shake the Texas heat. But luckily, Mother Nature blessed Austin with a number of splashy swimming spots that offer a fun way to cool off. Check out our Urbanspace Top 5 Swimming Spots below!

 

Barton Springs Pool: Combine great swimming with people watching at the historic Barton Springs Pool, just minutes from downtown Austin. Located in the heart of the 360-acre Zilker Park, this swimmer’s paradise features clear water fed from underground springs that stays a refreshing 68 degrees year ‘round, along with grassy hills for sunbathing. (2131 william barton dr, 78746) 

 

Deep Eddy Pool: The huge Deep Eddy Pool is the state’s oldest pool, and offers a traditional public pool experience in the center of Austin. (401 deep eddy drive, 78703)

 

Hamilton Pool Preserve: Located a 40-minute drive from Austin in Texas Hill Country, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a geological wonder. This historic swimming hole was formed by the Hamilton Creek spilling out over limestone outcroppings, creating a dramatic 50-foot waterfall that plunges into a canyon. (24300 hamilton road, TX 78620)  

 

Jacob’s Well: Swim in an artesian spring just 40 minutes outside of Austin at Jacob’s Well Natural Area. The cool, clear water is surrounded by rocky ledges and shady trees, creating a picture-perfect swimming hole. Jacob’s Well is the second largest fully submerged cave in Texas and the spring releases thousands of gallons of water a day, eventually feeding into the Blanco River. (1699 Mt Sharp Rd., TX 78676)

 

Blue Hole: Drive 45 minutes south of Austin to reach the glorious Blue Hole, located just outside of Wimberley. The crystal-clear waters of Blue Hole stay an ideal 75 degrees all year round, and are shaded by towering cypress trees. Manicured waterside lawns are the perfect place to spread out a blanket and crack open your cooler. Rope swings hanging from the trees complete the quintessential water hole experience. Admittance is limited and reservations are required for swimming, so make your reservation online here. (blue hole ln, 78676

 

 

Urbanspace Favs | Easter Brunch 2021 ATX Dining Guide

Easter Brunch 2021: ATX Dining Guide

 

Photo from: Jeffreys of Austin

 

 

If you’re looking to celebrate Easter out of the house this year, Austin has a ton of great options to choose from. Check out these Urbanspace Favs for some delicious food and continue to support local this holiday weekend! 

 

Jeffrey’s: Treat yourself to a 4-course brunch on Easter Sunday. The special occasion menu highlights include foie gras, wood-fired lamb chops, spring pea and new potato salad and a dobos torte. Reservations available from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 4. (1204 west lynn st, 78703) 

 

Olive & June: Enjoy Easter brunch on the picturesque patio at Olive & June. Their special holiday menu features deviled eggs, a brioche cinnamon roll, eggs benedict, Tuscan home fries and a classic carrot cake. (3411 glenview ave, 78703)

 

South Congress Cafe: South Congress Cafe is serving up all of your brunch favorites this Easter Sunday! Enjoy tunes from an onsite DJ from 12-3 p.m. while sipping on your favorite cocktail or mimosa before ordering a delicious entree, like the shortrib hash or carrot cake French toast. (1600 south congress avenue, 78704)  

 

Fleming’s: Itching to go out? Dress in your Easter best end enjoy a decadent 3-course meal, featuring a hand-cut filet mignon paired with crab stuffed shrimp or lobster tail scampi. Open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. (320 east 2nd st, 78701)

 

Juniper: Juniper will host brunch on Easter Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Arrive hungry to enjoy their prix-fixe menu that includes fresh pastries, some classic Juniper dishes and fun Italian brunch items, like breakfast lasagna. (2400 east cesar chavez, 78702

 

 

Urbanspace Favs | Top 5 Breweries in ATX

Urbanspace’s Top 5 Breweries in ATX

 

Photo From: Eater Austin

 

 

Austin is full of craft beer, and the city’s expansive brewery scene offers plenty of opportunity to get your drink on. With St. Patrick’s day coming up on Wednesday, March 17th, what better way to celebrate than with a beer in hand. Check out the list below for Urbanspace’s fav ATX breweries to hit up. 

 

Hi Sign Brewing: Hi Sign Brewing is just a stone’s throw from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Their shaded outdoor space has picnic tables and hammocks that are made for watching the planes flying overhead. While this is one of Austin’s newer breweries, Hi Sign has grown their lineup of core beers into an expansive menu that continues to offer more unique variants on classic styles. (1201 bastrop hwy, 78742) 

 

Zilker Brewing Company and Taproom: This industrial taproom showcases every aspect of their brewing process. What makes Zilker Brewing different from breweries is that they have seltzer here, and Spicy Boys Chicken is parked out front with their Asian-inspired fried chicken wings. (1701 e. 6th st, 78702)

 

The ABGB: Austin Beer Garden and Brewery, just off South Lamar, has literally everything you could want in a brewpub. And that’s exactly why they continue to win awards that acknowledge them as one of the best brewpubs in the country. Here you’re treated to spectacular live music on a stage that beautifully shows off the brewing equipment. Order some of the delicious pizza and salad to pair with The ABGB’s numerous award-winning beers. (1305 w oltorf st, 78704)  

 

Austin Beerworks: The iconic can-only brewery hosts tasting hours, as well as pint nights, with the brewery’s Can-tina truck on site. The taproom serves from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 12 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. (3001 industrial terrace, 78758)

 

Lazarus Brewing Company: Lazarus Brewing Company is right in the middle of East Austin’s popular Sixth Street district, but you’ll be able to spot the brewery by its bright teal exterior. Lazarus Brewing is constantly experimenting and brewing the most-underrepresented styles of beer. You might hear that often, but really, this is a brewery that will make you excited about craft beer. Lazarus opens early every morning for coffee and breakfast tacos and stays open late for craft beer and more tacos. (1902 e 6th st, 78702

 

 

Urbanspace Favs | Valentine’s Day 2021 ATX Takeout Guide

Valentine’s Day 2021: ATX Takeout Guide

 

Photo from: Abarestaurants.com
Photo from: Abarestaurants.com

 

 

While Valentine’s Day has always been an excuse for a fancy dinner and night out on the town, this year in the midst of a pandemic people are encouraged to order in and stay home. Luckily, Austin’s list of restaurants offering takeout remains abundant allowing us all to enjoy the luxury of 5 star restaurant cuisine from our own homes. From American to Mediterranean, Urbanspace has got you covered on the top Valentine’s Day meals in Austin this year. 

 

34th Street Cafe: The American restaurant is offering two prix fixe menus that come with a bottle of rosé. The four-course meal with smoked beef tenderloin is $135 and the five-course one with hot smoked salmon is $120, both for two people. (1005 w 34th st, 78705) 

 

Aba: The Austin location of the Chicago restaurant is offering two-person to-go dinners. There are options to add on wine, cocktails, dishes for children, and even a plant from local shop Tropic of Capricorn. The price is $119.95 for two people. (1011 south congress avenue, 78704)

 

Dai Due: The butcher shop/restaurant is putting together four-course single-serving meals for Valentine’s Day. There’s a wild game package and a vegetarian-friendly one, plus options to add the cookie box and bottles of wine. The wild game package for one person is $82; vegetable package for one person is $72. (2406 manor road, 78722)  

 

The Carillon: The campus restaurant is offering a four-course meal, featuring breads (including a ciabatta or baguette from Easy Tiger), spreads, salads, entrees, and desserts. $140 for two people. (1900 university avenue, 78705)

 

Salt & Time: The butcher shop put together a bunch of meal kits (with two different two-person prix fixe meal with steaks) and raw meat specials. Steak prix meals are $200 or $225 for the dry-aged option; meats per pound and other goods range from $10 to $20. (1912 east seventh street, 78702

 

 

Urbanspace Favs | Top 5 ATX Happy Hours

Top 5 ATX Happy Hours

 

 

Austin’s best happy hours make it easy to unwind after work or enjoy a drink with friends before dinner. Check out the list below for Urbanspace’s favorite ATX happy hours to attend. 

 

Codependent Cocktails + Coffee: Seaholm District’s hottest new hangout spot and the Brain Child of our very own Kevin Burns and Merrill Alley, Codependent is a conceptual coffee and cocktail bar inspired by Italian luxury, aperitivo culture and the belief that beautiful design should be enjoyed by all. Enjoy a charcuterie board alongside a glass of wine or rotating cocktail on the patio Monday-Friday from 4-6PM. Happy hour includes $10 rotating cocktails, $5 off wine-by-the-glass, $5 off charcuterie boards, and 5 bites for $5. (301 west ave #110, 78701) 

 

Jeffrey’s: Want to try Jeffrey’s, but not up for dropping the serious serious bucks required? The happy hour menu features half-off appetizers and $2 off drinks at the bar. It runs all night on Monday, and then from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. (1204 west lynn, 78703)

 

North Italia: The Italian restaurant chain’s happy hour includes half-off wine bottles and $10 pizzas from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. (500 w 2nd st. #120, 78701)  

 

La Condesa: All cocktails are half-off during the Mexican restaurant’s happy hour, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m. on the weekdays. Plus there are marked-down snacks like quesadillas, nachos, and tacos al pastor. It’s available in the bar area of the downtown restaurant. (400a w 2nd st, 78701)

 

Better Half Coffee & Cocktails: The West 5th Street cafe’s happy hour features excellent $5 cheeseburgers, $3 cans of beer, and $5 glasses of sangria from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Then there’s a late night happy hour with $5 draft cocktails and $2 Pearl beers, from 9 p.m. until close Tuesday through Sunday too. (406 walsh st, 78703

 

 

Urbanspace Favs | Top 5 Holiday Events 2020

Top 5 Holiday Events

to Attend in Austin this December

 

The Trail of Lights in Zilker Park on Monday December 11, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 

From light shows to shopping pop-ups and the Nutcracker at home, we’ve got you covered for the top events in Austin to help you celebrate the holidays this December:

 

Austin Trail of Lights: The 55th Annual Trail of Lights is part of the essential Austin experience, lighting up the season with a celebration of community, memories and fun. This year, the spectacular trail will return as a drive-thru event in December. Arrive early with a Dash Pass, or cruise through the night with General Admission starting November 28th through January 3rd. (zilker park)

 

Peppermint Parkway: Peppermint Parkway is a magical drive-thru experience at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas. The holiday spectacular will be a one-mile driving attraction that will immerse visitors in millions of holiday lights synchronized to joyful holiday classics from November 27th through January 3rd. Tickets can be purchased online. (circuit of the americas)

 

Luminations: At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, experience the calm of winter with the shimmer of thousands of luminarias lighting the way. This year, for the first time ever, stroll through the naturally beautiful Texas Arboretum among the illuminated oaks and the light-splashed forts of Fortlandia. Held from November 27-January 3, with limited capacity and plenty of space to explore. (lady bird johnson wildflower center)  

 

“The Nutcracker: Home for the Holidays”: Ballet Austin is bringing a favorite holiday tradition home for the holidays by transforming its 58th annual production into an interactive, multi-media experience available to dance lovers around the world. The immersive entertainment offering will be available to audience members in the comfort and safety of their homes. (virtual performance)

 

Downtown Holiday Stroll: Downtown Holiday Stroll is back for 2020! Instead of just one night, this year’s Stroll will be a month-long celebration with free, family-friendly activities taking place throughout downtown. Visit downtown Austin to celebrate the holiday season with safe and socially-distanced festivities like the holiday shopping passport, pop-ups, appearances by Mr. & Mrs. Claus, holiday window and light displays and the signature 45-foot downtown tree. (congress avenue, between 9th street & 11th street

 

 

Urbanspace Favs | Top 5 ATX Restaurants Thanksgiving 2020

Top 5 Austin Restaurants

to Order Thanksgiving Takeout From

 

Photo from: Fresa’s

 

For those who find themselves a bit overwhelmed with cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner, or want to switch up their normal routine and support local Austin restaurants, here’s a list of Urbanspace’s top 5 restaurants to order takeout from: 

 

Texas Honey Ham: An Austin and Office favorite, Texas Honey Ham has both Honey Glazed Hams and Freshly Roasted Turkey Breast available for purchase by the pound, and delicious side options that include Corn Bread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Turkey Gravy, Chipotle Cranberry Sauce, Baked Potato Casserole, Apple Slaw, Austin Baked Beans, Honey Mustard Potato Salad, and of course Shells and Cheese. (3736 bee cave rd, ste. 6, 78746)

 

Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon: Fresa’s entire Thanksgiving meal comes with a roasted turkey with gravy, chorizo stuffing, and a spicy citrus-serrano cranberry sauce. Or opt for the turkey breast meal if you don’t feel like dealing with bones. Diners can also pick out three of the available sides for any of the two meals, which include roasted Brussels sprouts, poblano spinach gratin, and mac and cheese. Order a pozole kit for those turkey leftovers, and there are pies too. (1703 s. 1st st., 78704)

 

Micklethwait Craft Meats: For a smoked meats-filled Thanksgiving, the barbecue trailer is accepting preorders for the holiday. On deck are family-style meals with either whole turkeys or briskets, plus sides such as green bean casserole, lemon poppy slaw, jalapeno cheese grits, and more. Then there are standalone whole turkeys with gravy or pickles, onions, sauces, and bread, or whole brisket with the same pickle addition, plus a la carte green bean casseroles, stuffing, and pies. (1309 rosewood ave., 78702)  

 

Salt & Time: The butcher shop and restaurant has a variety of meats and sides for the holiday, including the enormous John Madden: a 22 to 24-pound turkey with extra drumsticks stuffed with sausage and cornbread dressing and wrapped in lace fat. Meats range from $7.50 to $52 per pound; the John Madden is $200; sides and condiments range from $8 to $16; party platters start at $50; pies are $24. (1912 E. 7th St., 78702)

 

Dai Due: The Cherrywood butcher shop carries a cornucopia of Thanksgiving offerings, including brined turkeys from Belle Vie Farm, smoked ham, turducken sausages, charcuterie, mincemeat, brined quails, sides, kolaches, pies, and pie dough. (2406 manor rd., 78722) 

 

 

Live the Lifestyle, Love the Lifestyle | Austin Food Delivery

Austin Food Delivery + Take-Out Services

Austin’s flourishing restaurant community is being forced to switch gears in another direction. As the Coronavirus outbreak has now reached Austin, Mayor Steve Adler ordered that all bars and restaurant dining room to be shut through at least May 1st to slow the spread of COVID-19. This major change as impacted many individuals, fortunately restaurants have not been shut down entirely as take-out, drive-through and delivery food service is permitted.

Below we’ve listed the best places to get delivered or take-out from by food category. Make sure to check the restaurants website for more details before placing an order.


Italian + Pizza  

  • Homeslice – Offering order or call ahead take out
  • Salvation Pizza – Order online for delivery or pick-up, also offered by Favor on the Favor Delivery app.
  • Via 313 – Place a no contact pick-up order by calling or ordering online.
  • East Side Pies – All locations are open for pick-up or delivery, order online or over the phone.
  • Hoboken Pie – Offering orders on their mobile app, over the phone and online for pick-up or delivery.
  • Brick Oven on 35th – Call or order online to get food to-go.

Austin Water Lantern Festival

March 7, 2020 | Muller Lake Park    

Water Lantern Festival is filled with fun, happiness, hope, and great memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. This is a family friendly event that can be shared by everyone where you can come together to create a peaceful, memorable experience. 

 

 


Texas Film Awards

March 12, 2020 | Austin Film Society

Don’t miss the 20th anniversary of the biggest event in Texas film. The Awards return to the grand stage at Austin Studios in 2020, where we’ll celebrate the newest members of the Texas Film Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 


South by Southwest

March 13 – 22, 2020 | Various locations throughout Austin

Join artists, innovators, and thought leaders from around the world and turn your ideas into reality this March. Experience 10 days of unparalleled discovery, learning, and networking with creatives across tech, film, and music industries at the 2020 SXSW Conference & Festivals

 

 


Austin Rodeo

March 14 – 28, 2020 | Travis County Exposition Center

Tap into your true Texan for some traditional Western rodeo entertainment. Rodeo Austin remains home to one of America’s Top 10 pro rodeos, exhibiting top-ranked athletes competing tournament-style in events like bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, and more. Meanwhile, Rodeo Austin’s daily three-stage lineup caters to both the young and old with varied genres. In addition to the music, livestock exhibition, and rodeo itself, there’s the annual sprawl of Austin’s biggest carnival, silly with rides and game booths.

 

 


St. Patrick’s Day Festival

March 15, 2020 | Jourdan – Bachman Pioneer Festival

This annual family-friendly festival celebrates all things Irish. Come enjoy authentic Celtic music and dancers, Irish language workshops, the finest Irish imports and plenty of good craic!

 

 

 


Dell Technologies Match Play

March 25 – 29, 2020 | Austin Country Club

With a rare, match-play format consisting of the top 64 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play field consists of the very best players from around the world and is one of the most elite and exciting tournaments on golf’s calendar.

 

 


Austin Urban Music Fest

March 27 – 28, 2020 | Auditorium Shores  

Austin Urban Music Festival is a two-day event featuring a family-friendly lineup of live musical entertainment. The festival showcases gospel, hip hop, R&B, soul and neo-soul and is a platform for talented local African-American artists to reach a diverse audience.

 

 

 

 


  Mighty Texas Dog Walk                

March 28, 2020 | Austin American – Statesman 

Don’t miss The Doggiest Day in Austin! In addition to the walk, you can find free samples of the best dog foods and treats; free advice from top veterinarians and trainers; raffle; artisan and food vendors. 

 

 

 


ABC Zilker Kite Festival

March 29, 2020| Zilker Park

ABC Zilker Kite Festival invites the public every year to a free wonderful and colorful celebration, where colorful kites fill the sky above the green spaces of Zilker Park in the heart of downtown Austin. This spring event is aimed for the whole family whether as spectators or as participants. In addition to the kite’s event, there will be local food stands as well as various children activities take place through the park!

 

Get to Know Austin’s High-Rise King, Kevin Burns

Get to Know Austin’s High-Rise King

 

FEATURED IN TRIBEZA’S SUMMER 2020 ISSUE

KEVIN BURNS SHARES A PERFECT DAY IN ATX

 

Known as Austin’s High-Rise King, and our own beloved CEO and Founder, Kevin Burns has helped shape the Austin skyline for over 20 years now with the 20th anniversary of Urbanspace. Featured in Tribeza’s Summer 2020 Issue, Burns shows off his expertise of the downtown Austin lifestyle, and welcomes the public into what makes up the perfect day in downtown Austin. 

 

 

Burns likes to start his day early with a bike ride around the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail which happens to be a favorite exercise spot for many members of the Urbanspace team, both real estate agents and designers alike. Just a short ride away from the new Urbanspace HQ, and Burns’ residence at The Independent, the trail is the perfect place to connect with nature, enjoy the city’s green space, and break a sweat. 

 

 

After his workout, Burns is all about eating, drinking, and being social. A few of his favorite weekend activities include brunch at TRACE, hanging poolside at The Independent, dinner at ATX Cocina, and catching a show at Stubb’s or Moody Theater

 

Watch the video, or check out the full article featured on Tribeza’s website to get the full scoop on a perfect day in Austin and what the future of downtown development looks like in Austin.

  

Behind the Design | The Camaleonda Comeback

Camaleonda

 

The Camaleonda system, originally designed by Mario Bellini in 1970, makes its comeback 50 years later. Speaking a contemporary language, between structural solutions and sustainable choices.

 

                                                                             THE HISTORY:                                                                                                                                              50 YEARS THAT HAVE NOT GONE BY

 

Presented to the public in 1970, Camaleonda has passed through 5 decades of design history as a true icon. Designed by Mario Bellini, this modular sofa has designed the aesthetics of an entire era of interior design, thanks to its great success both in terms of the public and critics. It is constantly featured in most international design museums and in film-sets that have defined the collective imagination. An Object that is loved by design affectionates, antique dealers and interior designers alike is finally back in production after a careful design process that involved the close collaboration between B&B Italia’s Research & Development Centre and Mario Bellini.

Mario Bellini’s work is characterized by bringing together design and architecture and Camaleonda testifies to his unique ability to move confidently between diverse design languages, between macro and micro, geometry and curves, artificial and natural materials. As Bellini himself says, Camaleonda was created to fill a void: “At the beginning of the 1970s, upholstered furniture for the home stagnated into the tired traditional stereotypes and radical-proactive elitist forays into the future that, although stimulating, rarely challenged the relationship between the evolution of new patterns of behavior in the home and the types of furniture available on the market at the time.”

With Camaleonda we find ourselves in the presence of a sofa intended as an architectural element, capable of transforming the landscape of the interior space that inhabits. A landscape that is neither immobile nor permanent, as its chameleon-like nature involves change and transformation. A promise that is clear from the name itself, as Bellini recalls: “Camaleonda is a name that I invented 1970 by mixing two words: the first is the name of an extraordinary animal, the chameleon (camaleonte in Italian), that can adapt to the environment around it and the word ‘onda, wave, that indicates the curve of the sea and the desert. Both these words describe the shape and function of this sofa.”

Camaleonda continues to live on thanks to an identity that has become an evergreen iconic vintage, current for each generation precisely because of its timeless qualities.

 

                                                                                 THE PRESENT:                                                                                                                                                      A CONTEMPORARY REISSUE

 

In its reissue, Camaleonda preserves the elements that have made it a contemporary classic. By mutual agreement, Mario Bellini and B&B Italia have decided to keep with the 90×90 cm seat module, together with the backrest and the armrest, faithful to the original project, whose original cutting pattern was used for the new edition.

The generous polyurethane padding that forms the characteristic capitonné design remains unchanged, still manufactured with the innovative system of cables, hooks and rings created by Bellini in 1970, which defines the characteristics look and modularity. Thanks to the tie-rods and the rings, the modules can be unhooked and recombined at will, allowing the sofa to adapt to an evolving taste and the dynamic needs of those using it.

The fundamental characteristics of Camaleonda is its unlimited modularity, a geometric pattern that allows each element to become a sort of enormous pixel through which to define your home environment. By hooking and unhooking seats, backrests and armrests, you can enjoy the luxury of changing your mind as many times as you desire, moving and redesigning the space. A concept which is dead to Mario Bellini: “Of all objects, I have designed, Camaleonda is perhaps the best in terms of its sense of freedom. There are infinite number of possible configurations.”

The padding has been thoroughly updated by the B&B Italia Research & Development Centre, making it even more comfortable than the original version. Thus the magical balance between the rigorous geometry of the square and the welcoming of the roundness of the padding is confirmed, further underlining the elasticity and tactile ergonomics that characterize many of Mario Bellini’s design projects. Camaleonda can be upholstered with B&B Italia’s entire textile and leather collection, allowing for another variable in the multitude of possible combinations.

Camaleonda is a dynamic, alive and sincere object, not at all enigmatic, that allows for an infinite number of configurations while still maintaining its peculiar and unique identity.

 

                                                                                    THE FUTURE:                                                                                 SUSTAINABILITY AND CIRCULARITY

 

The re-edition of the Camaleonda does not look back at the past, but on the contrary, it aims to rewrite an indisputable classic in a contemporary perspective.

Aesthetics, dimensions, proportions, and the way it is configured remain unchanged, while the composition of the interior has been completely redesigned with no room for nostalgia. “When I was asked to update Camaleonda, it was immediately clear to me that I should never or would never be able to do anything. Change the shape? No, the way it was intended is as good today as it was then. Change the materials? Yes, and that’s why I had a conversation with a company that is a leader in terms of its ability to transform a piece of furniture into a sustainable product.”

The “sandwich” structure of the Camaleonda is made up of recycled or recyclable materials that can easily be disassembled. The seat, backrest, armrests and bases are made of wooden panels. The sofa rests on the floor on a series of spherical feet made of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified beech wood.

The padding of the seat, the backrest and the armrests are made of polyurethane in various levels of density and firmness. The highest degree of complexity lies in the seat, where elements are shaped and assembled to allow every layer to interact, at the same time guaranteeing a high level of comfort. The various layers generate empty spaces or pockets designed to create a comfortable spring effect.

The engineering and composition of the seat allow the interior elements of the sofa to be disassembled and therefore easily recyclable. The padding is protected by a removable cover made of dacron, a synthetic fabric that is entirely made of recycled PET, the same material used to manufacture plastic water bottles.

 

                                                                                   THE DESIGNER:                                                                                                                                                           BEHIND THE DESIGN

 

Mario Bellini is an architect and designer internationally renowned. He received the Golden Compass Award eight times (one assigned to B&B Italia Le Bambolein 1979) and 25 of his works are in the permanent design collection of the New York MoMA, which dedicated to him a personal retrospective in 1987.

He has designed countless art, design and architecture exhibitions over the years, both in Italy and abroad: among the latest those at Palazzo Reale with Giotto’s masterpieces (2016) and – at the Milanese Museo del ‘900 – the one dedicated to Margherita Sarfatti (2018-2019).

In 2015 the Milan Triennale awarded him a Gold Medal for his career in architecture. Since 1991 he has been named as the Royal Honorary Designer of RDI.

Bellini has dedicated himself to almost entirely architecture since the 1980s. Projects currently underway are the New Polytechnic School of Genoa (2006-2020), a vast hotel and residential development on Virgin Gorda Island in the British Virgin Island (2018-2020). He also has various projects within the design stages.

 

                                                                          ENDLESS COMPOSITIONS:                                                                          GLI SCACCHI

 

Mario Bellini has also designed Gli Scacchi, which uses a combinatorial nature of Camaleonda to create the chess pieces. These series of accessories can be utilized to become extra tables or seats.

The three pieces that make up the series are inspired by the game of chess, in particular the queen, the knight and the rook (hence the Italian names Regina, Cavallo, and Torre), light and easy to move like on a chessboard. “They are among the most playful pieces of furniture I have ever designed”, Bellini states.

In 1971, the original version of Gli Scacchi represented a remarkable technical innovation as they were produced in self-skinning polyurethane foam, a solution which was initially used only by the automotive industry and was introduced for the first time in furniture. The 2020 reissue offers soft covers made of think leather and calf hide with visible stitching.

 

A classic is reborn 50 years after its introduction, maintaining all of its original character with a new dedication to a sustainable future.

Infinitely configurable, infinitely versatile, available now for order at Urbanspace.

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