It never made more sense to enter and exit through the same door. A gesture without fanfare, almost reflex, everyday. For the MO de Movimiento restaurant, in the noble area of Madrid on Calle de Espronceda, everything is. The beginning and end of a circular gastronomic commitment, of sustainability, of centuries-old innovations. The beginning and end of an act as profane as feeding.
The entrance warns that something different is waiting. Interlaced blue and yellow cables act as a knob. They welcome us to a place where everything is carefully thought out. From two large wood-burning ovens present as soon as you walk through the door to XXL jugs hanging from the ceiling. But these alleged decorative effects stem from the obsession to protect the environment of Felipe Turell, CEO and co-founder of MO de Movimiento. “All decisions are based on sustainability. Our business is food, but long ago that stopped being differential. Only in Madrid there are more than 5,000 restaurants ”, he explains.
The space itself is an exercise in recycling. More than 18 months of works in which to preserve decades of history of those who previously inhabited it: the Espronceda Theater, an eighties disco and the Efe agency photography set. The only modification has been the opening of the roof of the armchair patio, which has enabled an interior terrace. The black of some walls is the same that accompanied the agency. The furniture materials come almost entirely from the ton and a half of rubble generated by said works. “I visited the premises. I realized that there would be a lot of waste and I said to myself, why not build everything with them, ”says designer and artist Lucas Gómez, alma mater of the project.
Behind the proposal it is possible to think that technology has not even made an appearance, but it is a matter of perspective. The centuries-old and artisan innovation covers the more than 1,000 square meters of the establishment. Trends and more pioneering tools also have a place, although we do not rush. Let’s go back to the giant jugs. They come from a master tinajero from La Paz, heir to a 500-year-old family tradition, who bricks the workspace every time he turns on the oven. “He has passed them hard. At first glance it has the shape of a standard botijo, but it had to incorporate nozzles and at the bottom they are curved, “says Gómez.
Let’s not be fooled by aesthetics. Its mission is to air-condition the restaurant in the same way that it cools the water inside. The only help they have to get to every corner is a fan at the top. This is known as the adiabatic and wet pulp process. Something that the Arabs used in Spain for centuries and present in cultures of North Africa. “In the tests we did in my workshop we have come to lower the temperature by 14 degrees,” says Gómez.
The pipes are heirs to the Roman aqueducts and Arab ditches. Under the ground they have made a water plant that takes advantage of all external and internal water resources. They collect rainfall for irrigation. They distribute this water to the furnaces, which heat through copper tubes and direct it towards the ground, which works as a natural radiator. The one served to diners, after a triple filtration, also comes from the rains. The water from the kitchens and bathrooms, in which the sink is a set of bricks – cement included – taken from the rubble, goes to the cisterns.
The color of the uniforms, designed by Inés Sistiaga, comes from a natural dye extracted from the nails of the armchair patio. To extend the life cycle of the clothing, a sashiko, a Japanese darning that preserved the garments in moments of austerity, has been made over the logos. Organic waste is collected by a compost machine of its own. Most of it is sent to the local suppliers that they hire and the rest is used as fertilizer for the restaurant’s plants. “Prioritizing sustainability has been my workhorse. Some looked more for investment and others for aesthetics. I’ve had millions of dilemmas, the truth, “reflects Turell.
21st century technology
Like so many elements hidden in plain sight, the latest technology emerges silently. This is the case with software capable of measuring different characteristics of materials and concluding which is more sustainable. As mentioned by the CEO and co-founder, formerly in charge of projects at Derby Hotels, he analyzes elements as disparate as the life cycle, reuse or whether the manufacturing process is clean. “Many times what is not seen is more important,” he suggests. A philosophy present in your cashless bet. The restaurant only accepts digital payment methods. No cash. “When you make a decision, you have to give up something,” ditch.
Furniture has been one of the great beneficiaries of the software, with the help of Marcel Gómez and Cristina Freire, to preserve green speech and circular economy. Varnishes are the least impacting on the environment. The same goes for the cements with which they have remixed the rubble from the demolition. Also noteworthy are the techniques for recovering water-repellent boards, which are now dining tables or beams, converted into chairs. “Everything is open source. Anyone can download the plans and take them to their carpenter to build it ”, says the designer and artist.
In line with common innovative problems, the establishment has had to solve dilemmas such as which company was given home delivery service and how to integrate the online store into an eminently offline model. According to Turell, omnichannel has been less expensive than delivery. With the intention of not deviating from the business model, companies like Glovo or Deliveroo did not enter the equation. “We opted for Mensos because 85% of its workers are on the payroll and move around on electric bikes. They align with our sustainable policy ”, he reasons.
Even with the insistence that the food is not so differential, it is still the raw material that gives meaning to the place. Again, sustainability enters the picture. Apart from the fact that the menu is served by means of a QR code, Turell reiterates that all the genus comes from small Spanish producers, except coffee. He buys flour from a mill in Sigüenza as well as anchovies processed in Colmenar Viejo.
“For two years from now, not all systems will be educated,” concludes Gómez. As if it were a living ecosystem, MO’s particular digitization needs to learn all the transformation it has just undergone. You even think about organizing events, workshops, conferences and film screenings; but for the moment they are mere conjectures. All you want is that, in the end, so much principle placed on the table reopens the door of circular gastronomy.