An innovative approach to tradition
CERAMIC IS USED AS
HYPER-REALISTIC WOOD AND OPENS UP NEW FRONTIERS OF BUILDING DESIGN
The two players involved in this project, the client and the architect, worked together with a common goal: to avoid slavishly following local conventions and thus demonstrate that interior architecture is capable of combining small doses of tradition with a high level of modernity.
« Nature in its most technological form » is an oxymoronic expression that describes how product innovation in the ceramic industry can contribute to renewal, particularly important in a field like interior design where emotion is associated with the use of specific materials. The restaurant we look at in this article is located in Trentino, a region renowned for its nature reserves, Alpine lakes and Dolomitic peaks. In this splendid landscape, it would be natural to make extensive use of the local material, wood, especially in the classic application of floor and wall coverings. But unlike in the past when structures would always have been designed in accordance with the parameters of mountain architecture, in this case the client displayed an almost transgressive desire to combine tradition and innovation in the use of an industrial product: Aisthesis 0.3 ceramic sheets from Panaria in a sand coloured finish.
But the use of this hyper-realistic material, a porcelain laminate just a few millimetres thick and with an extremely realistic brushed oak finish, was not the only challenge of the project. Along with its high wear resistance, it was also necessary to exploit the added value in terms of design language and environmental sustainability offered by this mass-produced yet very distinctive product.
Conceived as a multifunctional space which would also host live music, the restaurant is built on two floors, one of which is a basement. At the centre of the dining room, the bar counter forms a kind of large island surrounded by an archipelago of tables. To achieve a stable equilibrium between filled and empty spaces, the central block incorporates a number of utilities and also has a large volume housing the recessed spotlight system.
From the sober and elegantly designed chairs to the solutions adopted for the gazebo-like microstructure, there is no obvious reference to the language of wood, and yet this material is evoked through cultured allusions to rationalist architecture. This can be seen for example in the horizontal orientation of the ceramic sheets, which serve as ordering elements in a space characterised by a strong use of perspective and vanishing points. But it is at night that the interior truly opens up to the urban context, projecting outwards through the large windows.