Charlie Pizza restaurant in Vilnius
The Lithuanians love shopping in malls and in particular enjoy going there in the company of family and friends, often spending whole days together at the weekends. This phenomenon is especially evident in the capital Vilnius, where the large malls that have recently sprung up like mushrooms offer a choice of activities ranging from ice skating to bowling, films, fashion parades, art exhibitions and shows. And of course there’s always the option of eating out, given that the restaurants, pizzerias and bars stay open until late. One such example is the Panorama Center located in Vilnius Zverynas, a 130,000 square metre shopping mall that extends over three floors and houses 180 stores of various kinds, as well as more than 18 cafés and restaurants for all tastes and budgets. One of these is Charlie Pizza, part of a chain that is rapidly expanding in Lithuania and the other Baltic States. Apart from the entrance space on the right hand side and a smaller area at the far end, the restaurant has an almost rhomboid layout. The surface area of 204 square metres is distributed over various levels, from the floor-height central passageway to the two side platforms elevated by respectively 15 cm and 45 cm. When taking on this project, architect Jekaterina Kazmazovskaja set out to recreate an atmosphere that would be ideal for meeting friends, holding business meetings, relaxing and even engaging in karaoke, a popular entertainment in Lithuania. Charlie Pizza offers a swish, cosy and comfortable environment with an ambience inspired by the legend of Charlie Chaplin. The menu, the waiters‘ uniforms, the lighting, the wallpaper, the paintings, decorations, ornaments and pop images drawn from his films and other details all refer to that period. The large service counter separates two functional areas: on one side the bar with stools for on-the-go consumption, on the other the pizza preparation area and a double oven for baking. The dominant colours are black and red and their combinations. The structure of the furniture is painted black with a silver patina while the upholstery fabric is red, purple and grey-blue, with floral or line patterns used to create a slightly antique effect. The raised platforms are carpeted whereas the main area is paved with ceramic tiles, appreciated by the architect for their unique qualities and used wherever technically feasible. Golden Dark porcelain tiles from Monocibec’s Enigma series proved ideal for the refined ambience of Charlie’s Pizza and created exactly the effect sought by the architect. Because of the restaurant’s location inside the mall without a source of natural light, these ceramic tiles were used in conjunction with a specific floor lighting ideal for fully exploiting their aesthetic potential. The same tiles, in conjunction with shaded mirrors and accent lighting, are also used on the walls near the bar.