Space and decoration
Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo
The project for the café and wine bar Caffé Mangiarebere focused on making the best possible use of the limited space available, for which purpose all the technical functions were concentrated into a single volume while leaving the rest of the space at the disposal of customers. The small interior thus encloses another even smaller area, a compact, box-like compartment that houses the functional elements in order to leave as much space as possible free for customers to sit and move around.
The ceramic wall tiling enhances and lends dignity to the space, returning to its historic role as both a decoration and surface covering. The decorative surfaces influence the perception and usage of the space. Alongside the rational functioning of the system there is an added value based on design, materials and shapes that reflects other influences and scenarios such as the Islamic tradition — in particular in its Sicilian version — as well as the use of tiles in modern Italian experience.
The design printed on the tile was created in cooperation with the Gabbianelli Ceramiche design team. This decision was based on the more than 60 years of production of Gabbianelli, a company that started up from a simple workshop where the company’s founder collaborated with architects and designers who tried out their designs on ceramic. Now as in the past, the company’s activities range from industrial-level production of plain-coloured series through to the artisan workshop, where artists and master craftsmen meet to create unique pieces or elegant serial decorations.
The wallpaper motif selected by the architect was photographed and processed graphically to alter its size and shape. Gabbianelli then produced the prototype by hand and after checking dimensions, colour and the combination of pieces (each flower consists of nine tiles) proceeded to large-scale reproduction. The wallpaper design was reproduced out of scale on the tile in order to offset the limited depth of the space with respect to the height of the tiled wall and to make the wall more distinctive when glimpsed from outside through the windows.
The internal walls of the service compartment are plastered in a glossy red colour. The concrete floor and grey plastered walls contrast with the bright surface of the ceramic-clad box. The door and window frames are made of raw steel.
The lighting has also been used as a spatial design tool. Neon lights are mounted on the end wall behind the shelves, the public area is lit with warm spot lighting and the service area is illuminated with cool diffuse lighting. The customer transit space is left in semi-darkness.
Gabbianelli, hand decorated tiles by Laboratorio Gabbianelli, custom designed
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): > 16%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB min
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): > 27
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant