Getting off from the Venice boat shuttle at the Giardini stop, one cannot but run into the Caffé Paradiso and the cluster of tables in front of it hosting an international crowd lazily commenting on the Biennale pavilions in front of a cappuccino or an orange-coloured Spritz glass.
Luigi Lavazza S.p.a.
The exceptional location and the very name of the place – sheltered by a graceful yellow-coloured pavilion whose architecture stands between Eclecticism and Art Nouveau – could not help but attract the attention of Lavazza, that commissioned to us the total redesign of the bar counter and its spatial envelope.
The formal kernel of the new long counter consists of a series of rectangular stainless steel frames piled up as they were crates waiting to be loaded on a ship. On their front sides, these frames hold a number of transparent and mirrored glass panes marked by sand-blasted patterns of different sizes and dimensions which are held in place by steel leaf-shaped elements. This frame-and-leaf pattern is doubled on the floor, where steel bars divide the continuous pale green-grey resin layer.
A contemporary response to the theme – in open critique to the cheap carnival masks and plastic gondolas flooding the city – cannot but accept and feed itself of a series of “harmonic resonances”: the Venetian tradition of the mirrors and mirror-clad cupboards, the lozenges of Harlequin’s costume, the decorations of Mariano Fortuny’s fabrics and the Biennale art installations.
Steel and glass are “colourless” materials, capable of reflecting the life and movements of the customers; if an Italian “caffè” is not just a service but also social microcosm, the new bar counter becomes a coloured kaleidoscope, a loved backdrop of everyday life.