This Culinary School in Spain Features a Labyrinthine Bunker-Turned-Bar
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This Culinary School in Spain Features a Labyrinthine Bunker-Turned-Bar

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By Jenny Xie
In the coastal town of Castellón, a 19th-century villa with a military history now hosts a culinary institute called Gasma.

Hidden behind an ivied gate in the Spanish town of Castellón, Gasma is a culinary school with a campus set within the historic Villa Dolores, originally built in 1879. The grounds include an idyllic garden, a pool, kitchens, and classrooms—as well as a wine cellar and bar that used to be a bomb shelter. The bunker is a testament to the myriad roles the villa has served throughout its 141 years: dating back to the agricultural revolution of the late 19th century, it produced citrus before serving turns as military headquarters, a currency factory, and the U.S. embassy during the Spanish Civil War.

Gasma’s state-of-the-art facilities are housed in a traditional Spanish villa with terra-cotta tiles, plaster walls, and wood trim.

Though rooted in history, Gasma keeps up with the times: the well-equipped, forward-thinking classrooms and test kitchens belie the traditional, gabled building that holds them. Throughout the grounds, surfaces have been clad in hardy Neolith, a sintered stone product made from raw materials that have been compressed under colossal pressure and baked in extreme heat. Customizable to mimic virtually any type of surface, resistant to heat and scratching, nonporous, nonslip, and easy to clean, it’s a natural material selection for the school’s countertops and walls.

In one of Gasma’s test kitchens, a Neolith Calacatta countertop provides chefs with a design-forward and practical work surface. It’s so heat resistant, in fact, that it can withstand being torched, and can help keep dishes warm. Neolith slabs come in many sizes and thicknesses depending on the use.

A large show kitchen, bounded by glass, hosts classes and demonstrations. A Neolith Basalt black countertop holds a row of sinks. The material is durable enough for students to chop directly on the countertops, too.

The bakery is clad in Neolith, which helps control humidity. Arctic White countertops also provide hygienic work surfaces.

The dining room looks out on the Villa Dolores’s picturesque grounds.

The bunker, which once protected villa workers during Spain’s era of civil unrest, now acts as a wine cellar and bar. Neolith Iron Moss tables run through the space, and feature an industrial texture that befits the cave-like hideout.

An arrow above the cabinets points to a tunnel that still hasn’t been fully explored.

Used here to form furniture, Neolith can also clad kitchens and bathrooms, interiors, and facades, to name a few of the possibilities.

Related Reading: 6 Marble Alternatives For Your Kitchen Worktops

Travel, meals, and accommodations for this story were provided by Neolith.

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