The aptly named Salt Restaurant in Shiraz, southern Iran, is completely made of salt. The walls, bar, tables and chairs are entirely made of the white mineral; even the stairs have a smooth, salty coating.
The unique restaurant is the brainchild of Iranian firm Emtiaz Designing Group, who used salt as the main construction material in order to promote the concept of green construction. They created the building using environmentally sustainable, locally sourced, affordable salt, powder and rock. “In this particular case, the walls, structural sculptures and ceilings are made from salt sourced from the nearby salt mines and salt lake of Shiraz which was mixed with natural gum to harden it,” said a spokesperson of the firm.
The project began with a thorough study on the appropriate type of local salt and its combination with natural gums. The designers started their research at the natural salt mines and the salt lake located close to the 150-square meter restaurant site.
Inspired by salt caves, the designers wanted to make sure the interiors of the restaurant twisted and turned just like they do in natural salt caverns. Once the research phase was over, they designed the walls, roof and stairs to represent a modern view of salt caves – and the result is both striking and environmentally sustainable. They handcrafted the tables entirely from rock salt, and recycled soft drink cans were used to surface the stairs and chair frames, which was another way of keeping down the carbon footprint.
Salt is actually a wise choice of construction material for the restaurant, because it purifies the air and creates positive ions in the atmosphere. “Salt is a natural disinfectant and the ions it releases also purify and filter the air, making it the perfect material for a restaurant,” the spokesperson explained.
“Salt suffers a bad reputation in gastronomy thanks to its overuse in most diets, meaning that most people are not aware of its astonishing healing powers,” he added. “But in fact, salt has been known as a powerful health remedy since ancient times, especially for respiratory health and detoxification. Even Hippocrates prescribed salt water inhalation therapy for bronchial and lung disorders.”
Salt therapy involves the therapeutic use of time spent in salt mines, salt caves, or other forms of salt exposure to treat medical conditions. So, eating at the Salt Restaurant could have several benefits. And you rest assured that the food won’t be bland!
Photos: Emtiaz Group
via Architecture Lab