Modernity and memory
Matteo Maria Gentile
Stefano e Carla Mazzarelli (Studio Dolmen Design)
It is hard to imagine a more fascinating setting than that of the Os Club in Rome. This multifunctional space stands in the heart of one of the most important archaeological sites of classical antiquity, just a short walk from the Coliseum and including the Park of Trajan, the Domus Aurea of Nero and the remains of the Baths of Trajan. This exceptional location serves not just as a restaurant but also as a venue for cultural events and a sophisticated meeting place for a cosmopolitan clientele.
The architectural project, assigned to architect Matteo Gentile with interior design by Stefano and Carla Mazzarelli from Studio Dolmen Design, seeks to create a dialogue with the past through a splendid sense of chromatic and emotional continuity.
The space, consisting of a 4,000 sq.m garden and 600 sq.m of covered structure, stands out for the use of high quality and environmentally friendly materials, for the meticulous care in the choice of furnishings – all strictly designer made, from Arne Jacobsen’s historic 3107 chairs to contemporary articles by Antonio Citterio and Marcello Ziliani – and for a complex system of indirect lighting with narrow shafts of light, curved, barely hinted ceiling profiles and coloured pathways.
One of the highlights of the project is the choice of internal and external flooring, consisting of Travertino Romano Scanalato tiles from Ceramiche Coem. With their explicit reference to marble, they emphasise the sense of continuity and contribute to the architectural goal of restoring the colours and themes of the past in a strongly modern and minimalist vein. This porcelain tile has a discreet charm, meticulously reproducing the characteristic details of machined stone, including texture, grain size, veins, colour and surface finish, and imbuing the ambience with a warm light. The consistent use of this material throughout the project also makes for a pleasant continuity between exteriors and interiors and accompanies customers along an itinerary packed with stunning features. At the entrance, the first reference to the past is a ground-level fountain that gives a nod to the adjacent Cisterna delle Sette Sale, a massive cistern that supplied water to the Baths of Trajan and was opened in 109 AD. The central zone is characterised by the presence of the alcove, an enormous bare concrete sofa-like structure standing on the platform that serves as the piazza or meeting forum. The wine bar next to the alcove is an ethereal place where the use of transparent doors and walls allows the bottles to become the key players on the stage.
A lounge bar, two restaurants and a special room for the chef – where customers are invited to meet him and watch him at work – add to the superb offerings of a club that welcomes its guests in a space combining tradition with elegance and absolutely contemporary comfort.