Would you like to know what I love in design? Like what I am genuinely fascinated by? It is the sheer ability of good designers to not just create a space. But to create an experience. I think this can so often be lost in design; it is easy to get caught up in timelines, deadlines, guidelines … too many red lines. Often when designing, I like to go back to the original concept, the original dream of the client. I like to remember their excitement when sharing this idea, their hopeful eyes, mouths that can’t move fast enough to convey their ideas and hands that move too quick as I try to catch a sense of their vision. Their passion gives me passion, it inspires me. But moreover, I like to constantly recall the experience we are trying to create, and to draw the design from that. The project I want to show you today for me, embodies this feeling of creating an experience, it is Toropomodoro Restaurant in Russia, designed by ALLARTSDESIGN.
To give you some insider knowledge, I’ll tell you how I like to begin any project. Here it is: research. I’m an avid reader to begin with, so delving into all different kinds of history keeps me really passionate. From whiskey bars to mid-century modernism, milk factories to the Bahaus, I like to constantly learn about essentially what I will be drawing inspiration, design and passion from. The time I put into research for me always pays off. When I looked into this pizzeria, I noticed the architect had done some serious research of his own. A pizzeria is not actually classic Italian, but rather American, so Topomodoro draws inspiration from both cultures. The very first pizzeria in America was founded by Gennaro Lombardi, an immigrant from Naples, and was set up in small Italy, New York in 1905. The first pizzerias in New York used coal brick stoves and baked pizza with cheese on the base and sauce above.
Can you see this image in your head? That is how I get my inspiration. The space that has been turned in Topomodoro is amazing in itself. The space is only 38m2 with a 100 year old vaulted ceiling. It feels like it belongs in an Italian village, as a bustling room full of Nonna’s making pizza from their secret recipes.
The design is clever, theatrical and encapsulating. It is simply a hall and an open kitchen. However, it feels like you are in the kitchen. As you sit on comfortable armchairs and lounges, you are surrounded by pantry style shelving full of bits and pieces; menus, tomato cans and Knick Knacks. It is almost as if you have stumbled into an Italian kitchen with a Nonna demanding you take a seat amidst the cooking chaos so she can fill your stomach with her classic pizza. The warmth is obvious, it feels like a place you never want to leave, where you could eat, rest and listen to Nonno tell stories of old Italy and sing songs of romance.
That is how you make a space and a design into an experience. By remembering the history, you create a physical story.