Syrena Irena Restaurant

Projekt Praga worked hand in hand with the designers to focus on merging old and new for the Syrena Irena Restaurant.

  • area / size 1,894 sqft
  • Year 2022
  • Location Warsaw, Poland,
  • Type Restaurant,
  • Designed by Projekt Praga, this modern pierogi bistro is now open just off Warsaw’s Royal Route. Krakowskie Przedmieście – the city’s representative street and a significant piece of Warsaw history – surprisingly lacked a contemporary casual place with Polish food. Syrena Irena filled that void by combining handmade pierogi with feisty design. The project was undertaken simultaneously by two teams: Mamastudio graphic design agency, and architecture office Projekt Praga.

    The building that houses this new bistro was raised in the early ’50s, and originally served as the cafe of what was then a hotel. With this in mind, the creators chose Warsaw’s symbol as the patron of the new place – a mermaid (syrena in Polish) with a groovy name, Irena. Along with talented illustrator Ola Sadownik, Mamastudio created outstanding and eclectic branding. “We were influenced by the aesthetics of jazzy Warsaw of the ’60s, when this part of town was a vibrant destination for night owls and barflies. There were bright neon signs, music everywhere, colorful artsy types, and thrilling energy. With that, we decided that the mermaid logo should bear resemblance to a retro cut-out. The typography is expressive and slightly clumsy on purpose”, say designers, who were inspired by the Polish School of Posters. Thanks to their idea, Syrena Irena has become a witty goddess of the day (when pierogi are served), and the night (when vodka flows like water).

    They drew the color inspiration from the branding. Powder-coated bar counters in bold colors complement the existing wall moldings and arches from the original ’50s interior. Vivid hues of blue reference the aquatic nature of a mermaid, while pink, peach, and coral tones emphasize her flirty character. The black and the beigy-grey balance this zeitgeisty space.

    Projekt Praga intentionally chose details, shapes, and materials which are still associated with the prudent design of the communist era in Poland. Terrazzo-like tabletops with simple black bases were custom-made, as well as most of the metal objects. Triangular shaped Finn stools designed by Buck.Studio, milky glass sconces from Aqform’s Modern Ball collection, and mosaic tiles at the entrance give a pinch of mid-century feel.

    In the afternoon, sun glares through big windows and illuminates the dining room, giving guests the sense of being in a retro movie scene. When the sky goes dark, neon lights make their way through the dimmed bistro filled with music. Syrena Irena’s contrastive design has certainly met the city’s need for a cutting-edge pierogi place.

    Design: Projekt Praga
    Photography: PION Studio