Nominated to the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2017; Bucharest Anual Architecture Prize for rehabilitation and conservation (2015)


Simbio is a project born from the very close collaboration between SYAA’s team and the beneficiaries Dana Nica and Iulia Younis. The project began in the spring of 2014 and went through all the specific phases of rehabilitation of a house built in the early 20th century. Simbio is a place where you can spend a pleasant moments at brunch, taking dinner with friends or simply working. Therefore, the arrangement had to be primarily welcoming to guests. Moreover, the space had two roles to play:  to be perfectly functional for the restaurant, but also to be representative for the house on 26 Negustorilor Street that existed for a century there.

The brief proposed three distinct areas, influenced by the configuration of the building: bar, restaurant and business hub. Then, we had to solve the specific flow organization and, most importantly, to create an environment in which clients retrieve the welcoming atmosphere of the former Simbio space that existed for a few years in Bucharest’s Old Town.

It was exciting the first contact with the house: quiet, beautiful, dark, with its green light filtered by the abundant garden, with smoked stoves, pale mirrors, and heavy furniture. The house had already well defined spaces: the lounge with skylight, the green stove room, the small room, the great room, the staircase, the basement with brick arches ... It was obvious from the beginning that the bar will be at the basement, the restaurant with show kitchen on the ground floor and the working space in the attic. We just accommodated the functional scenario as efficiently as possible in the existing spaces, meaning in some cases gaps in the walls, non-structural walls changes, and generally minimal interventions.

We wanted from the beginning to keep and bring to light the valuable items, and, where necessary, to come to completion with finishes as close as possible to the era in which the house was built. That is why we prefer to work with an experienced entrepreneur - Cella Cosimex. In general we used simple materials and processes, with very few exceptions in cases of infiltration in walls. Paint and wall finishes were applied in the idea to solve specific problems of rehabilitation - moisture, consolidation, aspect etc. However, we have taken some measures that have impacted quite decisively on the house look like eliminating the eaves - nonspecific to the Venetian style in architecture, the Cartesian model introduced on the facade and the newly built roof terrace. About 90% of the furniture was designed and produced for Simbio, the rest of the objects being found by the beneficiaries at flea markets, warehouses and on the internet. 

In the project we wanted to involve people who, through their creation, contribute to redefining the brand. Thus, we worked with Otlia Mihalcea for graphics, Ileana Sebe (zwei) and Ilinca Nanoveanu for floral arrangements, Madalina Teller for ceramics.

Click here for more details about Simbio.