Naples, Via Medina: «Solo pizza»
Marcello Panza, Studio Minimo
CE.VI CERAMICA VIETRESE
Ceramic tile production in Vietri has distant origins, leading in the seventeenth century to the production of decorative wall and floor tiles («riggiole») characterised by geometric or baroque decorations. Still today the majolica tiles that are crafted by the skilled Vietri master ceramicists feature the traditional motifs and warm colours of this splendid region. It was therefore an obvious choice for Marcello Panza from Studio Minimo to use this material for his rebranding project for the historic «Solo Pizza» restaurants that have been operating in Naples for the last thirty years. The concept of the «Solo Pizza» business project was based on an old Neapolitan pizzeria famous for offering its clientele just two types of pizza, Margherita and Marinara. The original furnishings were strongly linked to the Neapolitan tradition. The decision to redesign the format stemmed from the need to modernise a brand and furnishings that over time had become confused with analogous chains that had opened following the success of «Solo Pizza».
Vietri majolica proved ideal for combining a contemporary style with a strong tradition and visual impact. The first application of the new format was in the restaurant in Via Medina in Naples. The restaurant, located below the parvis of the church of San Giorgio dei Genovesi (1620), has two entrances separated by the steps. This morphological characteristic prompted the designer to use a floor motif that would provide a formal and visual link between the two entrances. The «carpet» of majolica tiles produced by CE.VI Ceramica Vietrese to the specifications of Marcello Panza served to connect the two entrances and link up with the baroque identity of the road, using the curlicue motif of the balustrade of the church parvis as an architectural and decorative feature. This stylistic element is a key feature in the decoration of the restaurant: the expressive red curlicue motif is repeated in the furnishings and lighting fixtures, which reflect the bright colour of tomato and the fire of the wood-burning oven. The red decorative carpet is framed by a grey floor covering that continues as a protective strip along the walls and accentuates the Pietrarsa lava stone of the entrance steps. The dome of the wood-burning pizza oven is entirely clad with the left-over pieces of Vietri tiles using the traditional opus incertum mosaic technique. The red lamps suspended over the restaurant tables, the furniture clad with decorated majolica and the glossy surface of the bright orange back-coated glass perform three functions: to re-establish an emotional connection with the typical fifties atmosphere of the traditional Neapolitan pizzerias while linking up with the initial idea of the «Solo Pizza» format and highlighting the architectural structure of the restaurant with its barrel and cross vaults. The digitally printed wide monochromatic strip likewise plays on the curlicue motif and is set forward from the wall to create atmospheric oblique lighting.