Già Gelato ice cream parlour - Rome

Shapes and colours inspired by the ice cream cone

Fresh, natural creativity in an ice cream parlour in Rome
Elisa Montalti
Caleidoscopio Architettura
Year of completion
The aim of this project was to make an artisanal ice cream parlour stand out from the dense urban fabric of its surroundings, a busy street filled with fast-flowing traffic and crowds of pedestrians close to Rome's Tiburtina Station. To achieve this goal, the firm Caleidoscopio designed the store window as a kind of stage set, a showcase that can be readily perceived at both short and medium distances so as to capture the gaze of passers-by and lure them inside. Già Gelato was opened in Rome by a master ice cream maker with many years of experience both in Italy and abroad. The aim of the interior design project was to convey the fresh, natural sensation associated with ice cream and to use a cool, bright colour palette with a prevalence of cold tones to express the quality and wholesome experience of a healthy artisanal product made with natural ingredients. Ceramic tile is the dominant material in the retail area. The tiled surface underscores the artisanal nature of the business, while its reflections and colours are the perfect complement to the textures and flavours of the ice cream itself. The choice fell on white, bone and sage coloured tiles from the Dart collection by Tonalite, a brand renowned for its wide range of sizes, colours and finishes. The architects commented: "We chose this ceramic tile because it has the right combination of materials and colours to capture the gaze of passers-by and allow the small store to stand out from the busy shopping street. The bright space conveys the sensations of freshness, cleanliness and authenticity associated with the popular image of an artisanal ice cream parlour. The tips of the tiles contrast with the perforations in the white metal surfaces of the access door leading to the workshop, creating a playful contrast between triangular and circular shapes. The cool colours of the tiles were chosen to balance the warmer colour of the copper detailing." With its lozenge shape typical of the Italian ceramic tradition, the tile proved perfect for the concept based on the combination of two pure geometric forms, the triangle and the circle, which bring to mind an ice cream cone and a milk droplet. The pointed ends of the tiles trace out a zigzag line at two different heights along the wall. The cool, bright tones of the ceramic tiles complement the visually-striking presence of the copper-clad refrigerated display counter and the metallic box-like structure that leads into the workshop. Made of painted perforated sheet metal, some of the sections are filled with green metallic panels to create a play of light, shadow, depth and perspective. The circular holes in the metal sheet complete the concept: the circle recalls the outline of a stylised ice cream and contrasts with the pointed form of the lozenge-shaped tiles.
Tonalite Dart
single firing
7x28 cm
white, bone, sage
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 3%Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 22 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
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