Don Nippon restaurant - Lissone (Monza e Brianza) Italy

Essential elegance

The Don Nippon Taste restaurant in the Italian town of Lissone adopts an oriental style in an original interpretation of formal purity
Claudia Capperucci
Maurizio Lai
Année de réalisation

In his collection of essays entitled « Elegance is frigid », the Vicenza-born writer Goffredo Parise described Japanese culture as a form of classicism founded on essentiality in all aspects of life, not just taste and trends but also social relationships. And it is precisely due to this impeccable, flawless consistency that Parise saw Japanese culture as the embodiment of style, elegance and good taste. This is a concept we find expressed to the full in the spirit and aesthetics of the Don Nippon Taste Japanese restaurant, built in late 2016 in the town of Lissone in the northern Italian region of Lombardy. Commenting on Japanese culture, architect Maurizio Lai from the eponymous Milan-based practice tasked with the project ( said: « I have enormous appreciation for its polite, genteel and graceful manners as well as the importance it attributes to precision, which I fully share. This year I had the pleasure and honour of spending several days with a Japanese film crew who were making a documentary on Italian architecture and design focusing in particular on my work. It was a direct and interesting experience that allowed us to exchange ideas regarding my work on Japanese restaurants. In reality, when designing these spaces I’m careful to avoid directly referencing any kind of oriental or exotic aesthetic. Instead, I try to represent an international and contemporary space with transversal cultural references. » Indeed, the atmosphere at the Don is not so much that of a traditional Japanese restaurant as that of a venue based on elegant international fusion, a sophisticated but indeterminate minimalism, which was in fact the style requested by the client. At the entrance we find a wine bar with functional geometries leading fluidly into the dining area with a central counter. This in turn dictated the rest of the furnishing solutions, which consist of a series of interlocking elements subtly referencing Japanese culture. The key ingredients are a layout with optimal proportions and functions, a meticulous choice of materials and colours for furniture and finishes, and an effective use of light. « We wanted to create a neutral, elegant palette in which light – which we envisaged above all as a decorative element integrated into the interior design – would stand out and create the uniqueness that I strive for in every project, » explained Lai. This design philosophy underpinned the interior design and the choice of furniture (almost all of which was custom designed by the practice, including tables and chairs) and finishings. For the floor coverings in the main dining area and the bathrooms, the designer chose the Industrial porcelain tile collection from Floor Gres in the colour Moka, where the large 120×240 cm size helps to harmonise the space and create a sense of balance between the various elements. The same collection is used in the bathrooms as a wall covering. Every detail of the project aims to underscore its uniqueness and originality, a space where dimensional precision is essential in order to bring all the materials together into a harmonious whole. The wallpaper and fabrics, likewise in a colour consistent with the neutral palette of the interior, are Elitis brand products.

Floor Gres, Industrial collection
porcelain stoneware
120x240 cm
Caractéristiques techniques
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,08%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 140
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 52
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9, R10, R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications et prix
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