The soundtrack to
La Dolce Vita
With its elegant bars and luxury hotels, Rome’s famous Via Veneto was a popular haunt of film stars, singers, journalists and paparazzi during the fifties and sixties and was immortalised in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita. And as commemorated in a special plaque, the director himself referred to the street as the «theatre of the Dolce Vita». Although the street is no longer at the centre of the show business world, it’s easy to understand why it was chosen as the location for Rome’s Hard Rock Cafe. Opened in 1998, it was the first Italian restaurant owned by the global chain, which now boasts 163 cafes in 52 countries worldwide and is renowned for its unique blend of American cuisine and music, vintage interiors and collections of instruments, clothes and memorabilia once belonging to rock stars and singers. The chain was founded by two enterprising young Americans with a passion for music, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, who in 1971 opened the first Hard Rock Cafe in London’s Park Lane as a place where people could relax and enjoy American-style good food. It rapidly became popular with celebrities and musicians such as British guitarist Eric Clapton, who asked the management to hang his guitar over his regular seat in the restaurant so as to lay claim to that spot. Other musicians followed suit, starting a tradition that led to the Hard Rock Cafes’ famous collections of musical memorabilia. After recently celebrating its first 15 years in business, the restaurant in Via Veneto has undergone a project to renovate part of the interiors. While maintaining the original furnishings, the project replaced the floor coverings in the first floor areas open to the public. The building’s upper floor accommodates the administration and sales offices and extends over a total area of 280 square metres. The Life collection wood-look porcelain tile from Caesar in the colour Noce (walnut) was chosen as the floor covering in the main room and the function room, reproducing all the beauty, varied colour tones and material texture of natural timber. The tiles also meet the necessary functional requirements of dimensional stability, ease of cleaning, durability and environmental performance. The chosen size, 20×120 cm, is perfectly suited to the scale of the spaces, achieving a sense of lightness and aesthetic continuity in spite of the variety of colours. Wood dominates, with a prevalence of dark tones chosen for the functional elements, the central island with its visually striking bar counter, the wall panelling and the accessories. A classic style contrasts with the conspicuous décor and distinctive branding. Rome’s Hard Rock Cafe is particularly popular with tourists and offers a unique attraction: from the glazed walls of the gazebo, customers can admire Via Veneto’s splendid buildings and hotels with their prevalently late nineteenth century architecture.