NOVA Spektrum - Lillestrøm

A@W Newsletter

Acquire a Taste for It

14 May 2024

Designing a culinary venue is always a special challenge for architects and interior designers: on the one hand, you can let off steam creatively, but on the other, you have to hit the bull's eye to be inviting and draw attention to yourself. Because no matter what's on the menu: you always eat with your eyes.



After two years as a pop-up store, it was time for a permanent home: the new Viennese ice cream parlor Helli & Leo with a 2D look. 
© Helli & Leo


The culinary venues have to be appetizing. Atypical too. And preferably alternative. This triple A is needed in the catering industry to be considered "hip". Whether fine dining, a cult restaurant or an ice cream parlor - what they all have in common is an honest effort to please their guests. Taste and art are closely linked here. Here below are three good examples.


Between two dimensions: the interior of the ice cream parlor plays with optical illusions in a sophisticated way. 
© Tim Walker

Organic ice cream alone sounds tempting. But the new Viennese ice cream parlor Helli & Leo, named after the parents of founder Werner Helnwein - Helene and Leopold - has other things going for it. For example, its unique appearance. It is designed in a comic-like 2D look and offers guests an extraordinary experience.


A feel-good atmosphere for two and four-legged friends: dogs can also enjoy a refreshment from the specially designed ice-cream cups. 
© Tim Walker


The design runs through the entire design concept: From the walls and floors to the counter, right down to the napkins, the ice cream cups and the team's T-shirts. The colour concept is simple: here you will only find white surfaces framed by black edges, giving the entire interior the appearance of a line drawing. There are absolutely no exceptions: Even the walls are bare, leaving the whole stage to the product.


Chic underwater world: The Italian Club Seafood Wine Bar in Hong Kong was designed by Pininfarina Architecture. 
© Pininfarina Architecture


The Italian Club Seafood Wine Bar is located in the heart of Hong Kong's Soho neighbourhood and brings Italian flair to the dynamic district. To top the already exclusive flavour experience of head chef Stefano Balsamo, the Italian creative studio Pininfarina Architecture was commissioned to design the interior. The design was inspired by the diversity of the sea, whose power is constantly changing the landscape. The colour palette takes this idea into account by using oxidized copper as the main colour, juxtaposed with neutral tones. These are joined by neutral tones such as light grey and the petrol green of the wall paneling.


Holiday feeling in the big city: The Italian Seafood Wine Bar offers an Italian lifestyle with everything on and around the table. 
© Pininfarina Architecture


At the Italian Seafood Wine Bar, guests can immerse themselves in a Mediterranean experience, characterized by a design that combines the surroundings with nature without sacrificing elegance and comfort. The perforated metal façade at the entrance lends the space a touch of intimacy thanks to the concealed "see-through" effect. It leads into the dining room, where a large textile ceiling installation evokes the movement of the waves to give guests the feeling of being right by the sea. The harmoniously ergonomic armchairs and stools have a brushed copper metal frame, as do the Carrara marble tables and the decorative panels in the lounge.


The award-winning interior design firm Stefano Tordiglione Design, based in Hong Kong, supervised the restaurant project on site. 
© Pininfarina Architecture


The toilets give the impression of "water": the soft lighting and the hammered metal on the ceiling emphasize the idea of immersion. The oxidized metal panels feature graphics applied with copper foil, inspired by the movement of underwater currents. The Carrara marble vanity top, the taps and the metal accents treated with brushed copper seamlessly continue the natural feel of the restaurant design.



Stimulates the senses: The new Umami restaurant in the Giardini del Parterre of the Parco Monumantale in Cortona. 
© Andrea Bartolozzi Photographer


The Umami restaurant, a culinary greeting from Asia to Italian Tuscany, turns out to be a real matter of taste. In Japanese culture, umami stands for the fifth flavour, sensual and elegant. This was also Emanuele Svetti's idea for the eponymous design of the new restaurant for the so-called Parterre Garden by Giuseppe Allegretti from the 19th century, in the center of the Monumental Park of Cortona. For the past 60 years, the restaurant has been located between centuries-old holm oaks and oaks and now offers high-quality fusion cuisine. The concept is bold, as it is a little confrontational in terms of design with its surroundings and the location with its history: provocative, but always with an eye to harmony.


In addition to an expressive interplay of light and shadow, architect Emanuele Svetti also strongly incorporates the element of colour. 
© Andrea Bartolozzi Photographer


The restaurant, with an area of around 200 square meters, extends over two floors with a capacity of around 80 seats. On the upper floor, the interior is in intense dialogue with the outdoor terrace, which is symbolically divided by a brass-clad portal and the greenery on the inner and outer dividing walls, as if to symbolize the transition as the development of a new interior space. The two floors are connected by a staircase, previously steep and narrow, but now reworked and upgraded by the studio, thanks to the skillful integration of a backlit ceiling for greater brightness and the use of light-coloured wallpaper that contrasts with the surroundings but conveys a strong cultural message.


Symbols and symbolism: Clear messages are communicated with simple but deliberate details. 
© Andrea Bartolozzi Photographer


The aim of Emanuele Svetti and his team was to create a confrontation that would lead to a synergy with the external environment: to combine the old with the new, the smooth with the rough, the rural with the built. The aim was to make the surroundings permeable and bright and to combine perfectly with the green of the park vegetation in order to achieve a visual effect of a "natural continuation" between the interior and exterior of the building. All this was achieved through the skillful use of walls of vertical greenery and large windows. Upon entering the terrace, which is covered with an aluminium and glass structure, visitors can enjoy the magnificent view of the Valdichiana, which extends from the slopes of Monte Amiata to the shores of Lake Trasimeno.


Still inside or already outside? The spatial boundaries in Umami dissolve completely. 
© Andrea Bartolozzi Photographer

Originally written by Barbara Jahn

Acquire a Taste for It
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