A gastronomic store and restaurant in Bolzano
Tiberio Sorvillo - Luca Guadagnini - Room Numbers
Roland Baldi Architects
The Italia & Amore market and restaurant is part of a booming trend in the food service industry. Other Italian cities such as Florence and Naples have already seen numerous projects that combine a market and a restaurant, catering for the public’s need for multifunctional spaces with less clearly defined uses and more informal, liveable environments. Another location that fits in perfectly with this new design approach is the northern Italian city of Bolzano, where architect Roland Baldi succeeded in blending the traditional South Tyrolean style with the latest trends in interior design through an innovative choice and layout of materials. Located in Via degli Argentieri in the heart of the historic centre of Bolzano, between Piazza del Grano and Piazza delle Erbe and close to the central Piazza Walter, the historic 18th century building was itself a challenge and posed considerable design constraints. The five renovated floors were designed to house an innovative new gastronomic centre that would offer customers a complex culinary experience in a city with a deeply-rooted food culture. The floors are divided up according to their intended use. The ground floor houses the bar pizzeria, the basement floors the market and large wine store, and the upper floors the restaurants: one more informal for pasta-based meals and the other more sophisticated for meat and fish. The floors are connected by a remodelled staircase which extends over the full height of the building and offers a fascinating display of culinary products, cookbooks, design objects and curiosities. On the third floor is a terrace in the style of a Mediterranean garden looking out over the rooftops of Bolzano, complete with water features and a glass fountain, while an opening allows natural light to penetrate inside the top floor of the restaurant.
The project explores all possible synesthetic potential, drawing inspiration on the one hand from its location in the splendid city centre of Bolzano — a jewel of order, history, hospitality and uncluttered architecture where urban spaces are easy to enjoy and appreciate — and on the other from Peter Greenaway’s film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. As a result, each room becomes a kind of painting in which light, materials, floors and walls take centre stage alongside the offerings on the menu.
While the interiors of Italia & Amore are inspired by sets from the film, at the same time they are tempered by the South Tyrolean mentality and the use of porcelain tiles from the Trasparenze collection by Ceramica Vogue in colours TR Ghiacco and TR Nero. Take for example the two large glossy walls, one white and the other black printed with abstract designs, like large paintings displayed in an art gallery. They recall the painting hanging on the end wall in the restaurant in Greenaway’s film, recreated by Vogue with a glossy mirror effect to achieve a rare visual depth, lending character and reflectance to the light, which changes according to the space. No less importantly, these walls and those of the other rooms stand out for their original perspective created by the choice of a 10×20 cm size tile which converts the lines of perspective into tangible physical objects. These in turn transform the ceramic design into architecture, as though it were a visual multiplier of space and refraction. The blacks and whites of the porcelain tiles are used in the technical rooms to create frames within which materials such as wood, metal utensils and products engage in a play of colours and create a calm and soothing sense of harmony that guides customers through the store and restaurant and offers a sensual experience on a par with the one proposed by Nendo. In the dining spaces, they function as positives and negatives of the same photograph, which can be appreciated while waiting for the food to be prepared. Paraphrasing a recent quote by another Italian architect, Gianluca Peluffo, Roland Baldi has tackled this project like a film director. And it’s no coincidence that he drew inspiration from the world of cinema, writing the script, interpreting the spaces and materials and adapting architectural and building techniques to the needs of design. Fully aware that the beauty he was creating did not belong to him alone but was part of an innovative design experience, he displayed the humility that is a common characteristic of all truly great professionals.
Ceramica Vogue, Trasparenze
TR Ghiaccio, TR Nero
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 1,5
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB min
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >40
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant