Mama Burger - Milano

Quality Fast Food

Katrin Cosseta
Atelierp -
Pareschi & Piccinno
Year of completion
The project for the Mama Burger chain's third Milanese restaurant, awarded to the practice Atelierp - Pareschi & Piccinno, uses a language that epitomises the fast-food culture (open-plan space, a clear functional layout, appealing graphic design, kitchen visible from the front window) while at the same time exploring the materials and atmospheres typical of fashion-conscious Milan and its metropolitan evenings (and, as a distant echo, those of Manhattan). The challenge facing the architects was to successfully combine these two different inspirations, to strike a perfect balance between the elements of the new without - like many Milanese nightlife locales - falling into the trap of the ephemeral. The result is an urban style space in which the graphic designs and colours of pop communication combine with the hardness of industrial materials: raw concrete surfaces displaying large logos, the brutalistic red/grey/black colour triad, oversize chromed chains hanging above the tills, the tables and chairs upholstered in vivid red (in the finest American fast food tradition), neon tubes designed to capture the attention of passers-by, the neutrality of the resin floors, and the strong impact of the skylights and steel-framed windows. The project is an exercise in harmony of contrasts: textural (the warmth of wood mitigating the rough image of concrete), semantic (the brisk pace typical of fast food restaurants contrasting with the comfortable ambience conducive to more leisurely dining) and stylistic (a contemporary style softened by retro details). One element in particular that helps to create a lexical bridge between the present and past, a striking counterpoint of styles, is the ceramic tiling used in the service area behind the counter, which consists of glossy black bevelled surface tiles (Metro series from Ce.Si, in a 7.5x15 cm size). This type of tile - first introduced in Paris in the early twentieth century for use on metro station walls, after which it spread throughout the western world on the wave of the success of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles - is now returning to vogue in the world of interior design, in both the residential and contract sectors. This surface covering material, with its ever-changing play of light, shadow and reflections created by three-dimensional facets and shiny surfaces, was not chosen as an isolated design feature intended to animate a single wall. Instead, it is part of a consistent vision in which the same black tiles have also been installed in the bathrooms, the compactness of the spaces amplifying the underground or dark basement effect - to use a typically New York expression. For stylistic consistency, the sanitary fixtures (Evolution series from Simas) reinterpret lines from the early twentieth century, underscoring the classic-contemporary duality and the splendid combination of black and white.
Ce.Si., Metro series
porcelain stoneware
7,5x15 cm
shiny black, diamond
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 3%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): > 30 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
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