Casa Scrovegni Caffè Cibo Vino, Padova (2020).
A restaurant located in the vicinity of the famous Cappella degli Scrovegni, in the city of Padua, a place-to-be, from breakfast to aperitivo, the restaurant has three main areas, interconnected by the same palette of colours and use of materials. The perception of the space is also amplified by an effective use of the mirror. The entrance consists of a bar counter, rescued and restyled using tiles and corrugated brass sheets. Along the main wall, high raised tables made from these same materials, are combined with round-arch-shaped-mirrors. The area in between the entrance and the dining room has a suspended shelving system designed to room the restaurant’s wine selection.
The bar stools are bespoke elements, as well as the tables; created by re-using the legs from the tables of the pizzeria. All of the elements in this area are thought to enhance a perspective game.
Adopting witty interiors , the restaurant invites its clients into an easy-going yet refined environment. Perfect to enjoy the company of friends and family, this place feels amusing and contemporary at the same time, from the morning coffee till the last drink of the day.
With this project, I hoped to create a welcoming place where to feel at home in the heart of Padua. Although the restaurant only recently opened, its interior is designed to keep traces of the past, with its beautiful palladiana floor, a tile-cladded pizza oven and some other bits rescued from its previous life. During the first site visit, it was already clear that some dusted furniture would have been worth to be saved, polished, remodelled and so re-used. All the re-used elements are going hand in hand with the contemporary ones, in a layout that includes classical compositional schemes and deliberate takes on tradition. For instance, the disposition of the artworks in the dining area is directly informed by Giotto’s composition in the Scrovegni Chapel.
Before Casa Scrovegni, in the same site, there used to be a 80s pizzeria which was the first inspiration for the colour palette, suggesting the orange as a starting point for reasoning. The warm grey is the summer dusk shadow in Piazza Duomo, the cold gray the winter dawn at the train station, the green the tropical Serra of the Orto botanico.
As in all my works, the main concern is to keep the place true to itself, to its surroundings and to the context it is seated in, yet adding a take on it. In order to establish a long lasting relationship with the future users, it was important to find references in town, first of all, in order to give to the future clients elements and objects they could feel attracted to and then, familiar to. It was like this also when it was a pizzeria, with clients turning up even more times per day and still coming to ask for pizzas now. That is also why the oven has been kept, to give the possibility to the owners of Casa Scrovegni to throw Pizza nights every once in a while and so give honour to the pizzeria that was there and to those loyal clients.
Casa Scrovegni is located in the same neighbourhood of Scrovegni Chapel, the history of art milestone frescoes by Giotto. This is the main inspiration for the whole design: from the design of the logo till the disposition of the paintings in the dining room. It is a place dense of complex references yet the result is a simple and enjoyable interior. Here, the convivial vibe is enhanced by the easy-goingness of those who work in the restaurant, always ready to make you feel at home by serving you a spritz with a heartwarming smile. It is traditional in what he offers, contemporary in how it looks like.
My design aims to follow and merge the inspirations, traditions and culture coming from the site itself, the neighbourhood and the city of Padua, spicing everything up with a fresher approach coming from my international experiences. The space is amplified and distorted in the perception by the use of the mirror, together with a graphical employment of graphite and off white tiles for the support surfaces. The wish of amplifying the space was also a reaction to how it was before. A very crowded environment that felt claustrophobic, particularly in the dining area. Here, the use of the mirrors was crucial in order to create indoor “windows”, giving a perception of depth and an extra breath to the whole.
Owner Marco wanted a contemporary yet welcoming environment. Reflective of the italian restaurant tradition, somewhere in which the clients can feel at ease and ultimately, at home. A unique place in the heart of Padua, all day long. On achieving that, my goal was from the beginning to somehow save something from the pre-existing space, starting from it and looking at the suggestions and needs the space raised. Each space usually has features worth saving. And this space had a lot of that potential. There was indeed the need to address some issues and, I hope to have solved them somehow with these fresh new interiors. Also, considering its position, in a quiet road, it was in need of being a one-of-a-kind to appeal to people out of the established hanging out places.
To complement the interiors, I commissioned and art directed the artist Culetto (Sara de Meo), in the completion of Elementario, a series of 22 works on paper. This series reflects the idea of recalling the “illustrated table of the elements”. The device, still in use at the University of Padua, is usually employed to study chemical compositions and formulas. Likewise, these works represent the “tables” that assemble the restaurant’s identity together, such as; its wittiness, its delicious food, and the joy that comes from acts of sharing.
For this project, I was inspired by the beauty in everyday life and how it relates to the astonishing history and of a city like Padua. Casa Scrovegni is a place to appreciate the synergy between the setting, the company and, of course, the food: place where to feel welcome and enjoy a meal with a smile.
Interior design, brand identity, art direction, social media, furniture design for Casa Scrovegni restaurant in Padua.