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Casa Foa Reflects the History and Culture of Córdoba, Argentina

On Our Radar: Córdoba’s history and culture were encapsulated in the bar area through engaging visitors’ senses



FOR THE FIRST TIME in Córdoba, Argentina’s renowned interior design showcase, Casa FOA, unveiled its 38th exhibition. Ensemble Business Group (Los Angeles) was invited, in collaboration with furniture retailer Johnson Amoblamientos Domum, to craft the largest kitchen and café area achievable. The team approached various artisans and suppliers to partake in creating a warm environment where CASA FOA guests could gather and socialize.

Starting roughly 38 years ago, Casa FOA has taken over dilapidated landmarks throughout Argentina, turning them into design showcases. Originally launched in 1985, the initiative was started by Mercedes Malbrán de Campos and sees upwards of 70,000 attendees or more for each edition.

Casa Foa Reflects the History and Culture of Córdoba, Argentina Working within a tight deadline, the team produced an immersive cafe. 📷 COURTESY OF ENSEMBLE

Timing was paramount, with only a 60-day timeframe to design and build the kitchen, and the project being open for about one month. Throughout the design process, and with help from their partnering artisans, the team came together to produce an immersive experience.

Previously hosted in Buenos Aires, the design fair’s move to Córdoba holds a deeper meaning for Ensemble’s Project Director Gabriela Jagodnik, Creative Director Marco Ferrari and Chief Creative Officer Sharon Lessard. Córdoba’s history and culture were encapsulated in the bar area through engaging visitors’ senses. “We used the smell, visuals, materials and textures to make a 360-degree experience for every sense,” says Jagodnik.

The bar stools surrounding the island were decorated with native birds from Córdoba. “Our graphic designer made this graphic, and we painted the chairs one by one, by hand,” explains Jagodnik. The accompanying bird sounds echoing throughout the cafe transported guests to the countryside.

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Casa Foa Reflects the History and Culture of Córdoba, Argentina

Natural light illuminated the room through the glass surrounding the space, and a curtain wall contoured the light as the sun rose and set. “Every day, it was a different configuration because people touched it and made it move. The lighting was completely different hour by hour,” Ferrari says.

“They compiled a screen that allowed for sunlight to come into the space, but you could move the louvers to create a different kind of lighting,” adds Lessard.

Ensemble’s creative use of wood in the space earned them an award for “Best Product Application” for Casa FOA Córdoba 2023 Manantiales and Patagonia Flooring Edition.

“Everybody worked together for the same goal,” Jagodnik adds. “When everything was finished, we were friends who were celebrating; then, the people came and they understood the concept, and enjoyed the space. It felt like we won.”


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Alanna Marshall is VMSD's summer 2023 editorial intern. You can reach her by emailing



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