In winter, I always encounter a strange sensation, a craving for gelato. I am not sure if it’s just me, but after dining out, gelato seems like the obvious choice. As much as my fingers freeze holding the cone, it is always a welcome dessert option in the coolness of the night. Further to that, what we have seen in recent years is gelato shops opening that sell great gelato and have interiors to match.
At Piccolina in Melbourne, Hecker Guthrie have definitely raised the design level of gelatissimo’s, making it a go to destination. Located in Collingwood along Smith Street, the shop design focuses on accents of emerald green and pistachio. Its’ main feature is the 5 metre long gelato bench clad in square cut green tiles and displaying 20 flavours of gelato.
If you are flicking through the photos and think you can see subtle hints of Italia, you aren’t wrong. The owner, Sandra Fonti, wanted the space to look like an original 1950’s Southern Italy building. Her emphasis was on the idea of gelato as theatre, home cooking and gathering around the kitchen. This ring true in the design; the countertop is low, customers can peer into the gelato bowls, it is scooped up into a cup right in front of them and long bar style seating allows customers to peer into the kitchen to watch the whole process.
What you also might pick up on is the incredibly subtle nod to the national colours of Italy; red, white and green. The green is an obvious one; the bench top and all cabinetry has been fitted out in the wonderful emerald green shade. The red however is a lot more subtle; just making an appearance in the shop signage and cup branding. A very subtle nod to gelato’s heritage.
The architects, Hecker Guthrie, had the advantage of a truly aged space to help make it feel like an old Southern Italian shop. All original architectural features were exposed during construction, this includes existing layers of paint on the original brickwork, pressed metal ceilings, terrazzo flooring and stone archways.