„Al 3 di Via Novelli“
The need to open a canteen-style restaurant prompted the San Narno Diocesan Authority to refurbish a portion of a building complex it owned in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, at the corner between Via Novelli and Via Paleocapa. The complex consists of four buildings arranged around a trapezoidal courtyard: the main building on the north side facing onto Via Paleocapa and a further three smaller buildings located on the east, south and west sides. It is these latter three buildings that were involved in the refurbishing project. The east building with the courtyard entrance stands on Via Novelli, while the south and west buildings border with other properties. They all extend over three levels, a basement and two above-ground floors. Prior to renovation, the fronts facing onto the courtyard featured masonry recesses alternating with pillars, and with openings of various shapes and sizes on the ground floor and rectangular windows on the first floor. There were no elements of special historical interest. The front of the east building facing onto Via Novelli featured arched or lintelled openings on the ground floor and rectangular windows with decorative cement surrounds dating from the early twentieth century on the first floor. The basement, however, was of considerable interest, consisting of a single large space with brick ribbed vaults supported by low arches resting on brick pillars and Sarnico stone columns. This, in short, was the situation prior to renovation. Given the constraints imposed by the authorities, the refurbishment project for the above-ground volumes envisaged completely preserving the external walls and the arched facades facing onto the courtyard and emptying out the west and south buildings to create arcades on the ground floor and galleries on the first floor. This led to a reduction in massing while allowing for the refurbishment of the basement of the east building and the creation of the restaurant. The level of the internal courtyard was partly lowered to the height of the basement floor to allow daylight to enter the restaurant. As well as locating the canteen in the large pillared hall of the east building, the project also involved remediating a large part of the basement floor of the main building, to be used for service functions for the kitchen facilities. The walls and ceilings of the restaurant are faced with fine plaster.
Two tile collections from Floor Gres were chosen for the floors of the structure. Large-format porcelain tiles (60 x120 cm) from the Stontech/1.0 collection enhanced with a play of colour were installed in the restaurant while Walks 1.0 tiles were laid in the entrance. A monochrome solution was chosen for the bathrooms, consisting of floor and wall tiles in a warm grey colour from Cerim’s Le Pietre collection.
The ground-floor openings in the front elevation facing onto Via Novelli were rendered uniform in size. The internal courtyard, arcades and galleries were paved with stone.