Noma

Architect: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Owner: Peter Kreiner

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

On a site between two lakes near Copenhagen, this new restaurant occupies a former military warehouse once used by the Royal Danish Navy to store sea mines. Now an intimate culinary garden village, Noma deepens the existing relationship between client and architect, and greets guests with a new menu and guiding philosophy.

The architect’s collaboration with Noma, which boasts two Michelin stars and four World’s Best Restaurant titles from Restaurant Magazine, began when the restaurant opened 14 years ago. The long-lasting relationship was the key to understanding the client’s needs for the restaurant’s new home. Emphasis was placed on livability to create an atmosphere in which guests and staff feel at home and connected to the nature surrounding them.

The overarching design goal was to dissolve the restaurant’s individual functions while organizing them around a collection of separate but connected buildings. The dining experience begins and ends with the chefs, and throughout a total of 11 spaces—each playing its own role—they remain at the restaurant’s heart. From their panoptic service kitchen, the chefs can see into every corner, while guests are afforded views of what happens inside traditionally closed kitchens.

Just like the restaurant’s ingredients, all of the building materials were locally sourced. Definitively Scandinavian, a 40-seat main dining room and adjacent private dining room are made from stacked timber planks evoking an orderly lumber yard. A skylight and large windows offer guests views of the restaurant’s permagarden and a connection to all seasons.

Each of the 11 separate spaces is connected by glass-covered paths so that the staff and guests can follow changes in weather and daylight, further marrying the environment to the dining experience. Guests are encouraged to explore the buildings and enjoy the Nordic construction techniques and materials. Noma’s barbecue feels much like a giant but welcoming hut, while the lounge, made entirely of brick, echoes the vibe of a cozy fireplace.

Additional information

Engineer, Energy and Indoor Climate: BIG Ideas

Engineer - Structural: BIG Engineering

Construction Management: NT Consult

Interior Design: Studio David Thulstrup

Landscape Architect: Thing&Brandt Landskab

Jury

Candid Rogers, FAIA, Chair, Candid Rogers Architect, San Antonio, TX

Cornell Anderson, AIA, Fieldwork Design & Architecture, LLC, Portland, Oregon

Caitlin Daley, AIA, Buell Kratzer Powell, LTD, Philadelphia, PA

William T. Eberhard, AIA, Eberhard Architects LLC, Cleveland, OH

Peter MacKeith, Assoc. AIA, University of Arkansas, Fay Jones School of Architecture, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Image credits

Noma-03

Soren Agaard

Noma-04

Irina Boersman

Noma-05

Chao Zhang

Noma-06

Soren Agaard

Noma-07

Aldo Amoretti