Fragrances, taste, colours and design
Maria Giulia Zunino
Andria: the Apulian town of Frederick II and home to Castel del Monte, located ten kilometres from the sea and steeped in beauty, history and traditions.
NCB architettura: the Milan-based practice founded in 2006 by Riccardo Emanuele and Samuel Balasso, both of whom had graduated from the city’s Polytechnic University ten years earlier. „We see architecture as a profession in which every project serves to study and learn about the context, materials and mankind,“ explains Riccardo Emanuele. „In the past, clients sought inspiration; today the situation is more varied but we always strive to create relationships that bring out the value of the human, technical and sociocultural aspects of every design process. Architecture has the capability to create powerful imagery, a curative environment. Rather than stripping away the existing fabric, we seek out traces of it in order to shape the future of the country,“ he continues. „We believe in the circularity of ideas, in interdisciplinarity, in artistic inputs and collaborations.“
Ton Joy: a mysterious, intriguing name whose initials appear to form a Japanese character. With its reference to joy, it predisposes the soul for pleasure and is ideal for an experiential contemporary dining venue. „Ton Joy was a bit of a departure for us as we mainly work in the hospitality sector. It is a fusion project that fits in with our research into fine craftsmanship and with our aim of nurturing a culture free of stereotypes, a metaphor for knowledge and traditions, skills and creations that can be defined as Mediterranean.“
Located in Andria’s old town centre, Ton Joy extends over two levels. The entirely glazed ground floor comprises the restaurant room and the large open kitchen, enclosed by a transparent box abutting onto the profile of the bar counter. The ground-floor space continues parallel to the windows and culminates on one side in the cocktail bar and on the other in the wine and champagne cabinet area. An almost invisible staircase leads to the basement housing a lounge for B2B meetings, a space that was previously missing in Andria and is sure to be appreciated by local companies.
„The materials were chosen in keeping with the spirit of the place,“ continues architect Riccardo Emanuele. „Tiles are relevant to architecture, they symbolise its inner truth. They are its skin, they pass from the inside to the outside, they bring together different sizes to reinvent a third purpose.“
Florim’s Stones&More 2.0 matt porcelain tiles are the unifying element of the project. The marble-effect surfaces chosen in the Amani Bronze colour are used on the floors, staircase and countertop, creating a sense of timeless harmony with the comfortable and cheerful furnishings, with the yellow velvet, the eucalyptus wood-inspired ceramic tiling on the front of the counter, the black glass mosaic on the bathroom walls and the wallpaper.
The overall result is far removed from the sense of anonymity that is invading Italian dining venues, many of which are devoid of identity even in contexts with a strong tradition and culture.