Mezzo Atelier has returned to The Netherlands, the country where both partners have started their careers at young age, to create Locanda’s interiors, an Italian Bistro at Jordaan’s neighbourhood in Amsterdam.
Following the Dutch paths of studios like Droog Design or Atelier van Lieshout, which design and autonomously build and produce their projects, the architects have created and self built most of Locanda’s furniture and architectonical elements at their studio in northern Italy and then assembled it on site.
Traditionally, Locanda was the next-door restaurant where travellers were also welcome to spend the night. It translated into simple and honest food, always made with the best ingredients, respect for tradition and a cozy and familiar like atmosphere.
Trying to avoid the Italian clichés of restaurants abroad, the architects, together with the client and graphic design studio No-Rocket, worked to create a strong identity, which could reflect the principles of the “Locanda” in a contemporary and fresh way. Not forgetting to contextualize it in a cosmopolitan and informal city as Amsterdam.
Mezzo Atelier’s re-visitation of Locanda, in Jordaan’s neighbourhood, turned out to be that place where people can feel at home in a relaxed environment, tasting the best Italian delicacies and valuing the excellency of its hand-made culture, from slow-food, passing trough crafted furniture and gestural graphic design. Despite being a small area the architects wanted to create different zones in order to achieve greater flexibility of uses, from the classic dining room to a casual bar at night.
The “L” shaped ground floor space, accusing many layers of ownership, was dismantled in order to leave its bare skeleton visible. The rough painted concrete floor was sanded and them varnished, leaving the marks of its former uses. The new added materials were essentially oak wood, plywood, steel and glass, which brought warmth and an artisanal character into the space.
Two types of chairs in natural oak wood and steel where created by the studio for the bistro. Bended metal elements bring together the wooden pieces making it very simple to assemble on site. Following a created colour palette, new table tops in coloured cement and epoxy resin where custom made in Milan by Leftover studio. In contrast, on a cosier niche, an Italian carpenter crafted bigger wooden table tops. Old oak planks were reused, bringing into Locanda, the memories of family reunions around an old table. Bigger tables also allow people to interact with strangers while sitting together. Lighting this corner there are three white 3Lamps in metal by Mezzo Atelier and a perforated plywood panel covering a wall is used for hanging plants and showcase objects.
The bar at the back, crafted by Mezzo Atelier in steel, plywood and black marble, divided the service area and added storage space for bottles in height, visible thought a satin glass and steel diagonal lines. The walls following the stairs downstairs towards the toilets and kitchen, where painted in a brick tone, a way of remembering the traditional Italian cellars where whine, cheese and charcuterie are kept.
Amsterdam based Italian designer, Francesco Zorzi, in charge of Locanda’s visual design also created a wall painting with a contemporary interpretation of the Italian food culture.