Where is the key to the Coati Restaurant?
The curious controversy of posters that refer to the Lina Bo Bardi project located on Misericórdia.
An announcement about one of Lina’s works
An unusual controversy has taken place in the form of street posters stuck on lampposts across the city about the “Coati Restaurant” on the Ladeira da Misericórdia, in Salvador’s historic centre. Little-known and practically ignored by local media, this is one of the most singular urban retrofit projects ever carried out in Brazil. Its author was architect Lina Bo Bardi, who died in 1992 and who garnered international fame through her work for the São Paulo Museum of Art (Museu de Arte de São Paulo: MASP). The controversy is shrouded in mystery. Nobody knows how to interpret the phrase “Where is the key to the Coati Restaurant?”, written on white notices posted along some of Salvador’s busiest streets. It could even, as some speculate, be a publicity campaign for a theatrical performance. Whatever it is, at least it has drawn attention to this almost-forgotten architectural project.
Cultural Focus Point
Lina Bo Bardi lived in Salvador at the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s. During this period she created the Museum of Modern Art in Bahia (Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia), restoring the fabulous industrial urban development of the Unhão Mansion (Solar do Unhão) next to Gamboa beach. In the 1980s she returned to work on avant garde projects in the city, this time pursuing the urban retrofit concept in the restoration and reuse of both property and urban areas. In 1987 she completed the “Coati Restaurant”. In the years immediately following its inauguration, the “Coati”, which offered an Afro-Brazilian menu, became a focus point for Bahian intellectuals. It is impossible to say what is most striking about this design. One can admire the adaption of other old buildings on the Ladeira da Misericórdia, the unusual combination of this building, which includes within its structure an ancient tree, or the decorative wrought iron details.