Saverio Lombardi Vallauri
Carlo Cracco has reopened his eponymous restaurant in Via Victor Hugo, near Piazza Duomo in Milan, showing himself to be an innovator not just in the kitchen but also in terms of design with his choice of a highly talented but little-known young architect from Piacenza to oversee the renovation project.
In his design brief, the celebrity chef listed a small number of elements which would serve to create a new variation on the highly successful «Carlo and Camilla» theme: the typical spirit of Milan, an eye-catching cocktail bar, a space for a large shared dining table and theatrical-style lighting for optimal food presentation.
The result is an «underground» project in name, fact (the restaurant is largely built in a basement) and atmosphere, recreating the sensual charm of a metropolitan living room where one can socialise and enjoy an informal break at any time of day, from breakfast through to after-dinner drinks. Giò Tirotto explained the concept clearly: «I found inspiration by observing and studying the architecture of Via Victor Hugo, where the central hub is traversed by a wide staircase leading down to the -2 basement level. This unique shape proved to be the perfect container on which to superimpose the two main concepts that served as a blueprint for the project: Milan and the Underground. I sought to create a harmonious balance between these two concepts through the formal elegance of the furnishings and the surface of the materials, but also through the decorative effect achieved by the choice of colours and lighting. In Milan I learned to carry out research and experimentation, and in this project I have created an alternative living room that offers a new experience centred around food and design.»
The theatrical nature of the location is immediately apparent in the bar area next to the entrance, where a steel counter with a galvanic pewter finish is surmounted by an imposing Venini chandelier, a symbol of wealthy and festive Milan, and furnished with black denim upholstered sofas and chairs with a raw aluminium finish. The restaurant is located on the lower floors. It stands out for its dark coloured furnishings enlivened here and there by coloured inserts that create a sense of elegance without being overly formal, complete with large, well-spaced and discreetly laid tables. In one of the rooms the scene is dominated by a long informal dining table, a key concept in the Carlo and Camilla formula aimed at creating a shared culinary and spatial experience.
The Fenix wood panelling stands out for its coloured streaks and paintings of misty landscapes sprayed on canvas by street artist Eron, the colours coordinating harmoniously with the modular tiling that covers the entire architecture. The floor tiles in particular have a vibrant metallic sheen that fits in perfectly with the industrial details of the furnishings and consist of extra-large, thin (6 mm) porcelain from Marazzi’s Grande Metal Look series. For this project, Marazzi supplied a large custom tile of size 160×160 cm obtained by cutting 160×320 cm panels, demonstrating its ability to provide tailor-made solutions to designers’ needs.
The restaurant is easy to find thanks to a hand-lettered blue neon sign.
Marazzi, Grande Metal Look
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): A LA HA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): compliant