Barcelona-based firm Isabel Lopez Vilalta + Asociados has recently completed the Jleo’s restaurant in Madrid’s Chamberi area, a neighborhood close to the university that features a vibrant and lively street life. Jleo’s the name was born by combining the names of friends and founders José and Leo. The third founder’s surname started with S and was added to the mix.

Chamberi was the perfect site for these three young friends to create a new concept, dubbed “Med Mex” and based on the idea of combining the best Mediterranean ingredients with a touch of Baja California in the seasoning. The world of surfing is the main inspiration for the new restaurant.


The design aesthetics reflect an outdoorsy, happy and uninhibited view of life, a life centered on sport and activity. Self-constructed houses and sheds provided the influence for materials. Corrugated sheet metal, woodchips, windsurf sails and street-style graffiti were all inspirational elements. Bringing these elements together was key to achieving the exotic flavor of Baja California. It all comes together to transmit individuality, personality and warmth, in contrast with the informal seating plan and open atmosphere. It’s a space with a firm focus on the important things in a student’s laid-back environment, a quick meal, and a margarita with friends.

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all images © Alejo Bagué