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Located in eastern Tuscany, Arezzo exemplifies the best attributes of the region without the throngs of tourists. Recently, Emanuele Svetti of Studio Svetti Architecture undertook a renovation of the 90-seat Osteria Moderna, a pizzeria and wine bar meant to appeal to visitors and locals alike as it’s located in front of the Garden Hotel Arezzo.

The restaurant’s design started with a color — amaranth red. “A touch of color works better than a bucket of cold water, as Matisse said,” says Svetti. “Red is the best color for effective visual communications. It’s the color of energy, but also the color of wine in a city where wine is greatly appreciated.”

In old tavern designs the dining area was hidden to passersby and separated from the bar where people would linger and drink. At Osteria Moderna, a cafe area fronts the space, offering an area for customers that want to have a quick bite at breakfast or lunch. Patrons must pass through a system of metal separators to find the dining area and bar. A uniform color scheme is broken up by integrated metal elements and concrete inserts.

Light and shadow are used to dramatic effect throughout the 350-square-meter interior. The cafe area is bright with natural light entering the building from windows located along the sides of the building. At night, lighting is used to create focal points and intimate spaces.

Terra cotta-colored curtains, an imposing wine cellar in burnished sheet metal that is used as a backdrop for the restaurant, and a balcony covered with silver ribbed glass on a metal frame offer visual interest and complete the interior. 

Metal table bases with minimalist lines combine with gray polished concrete tabletops. The sizing and positioning of furnishings were meant to allow the greatest flexibility possible, so the room could be used to maintain social distancing during the pandemic and eventually to allow for private party and banquet uses.

The floor is a continuous surface made with epoxy resin with grit tile inserts but, at the center of the dining area, there is a mix of cement tiles in three shades of gray that creates an unexpected chromatic point of visual interest and offers a sharp contrast to the wine-colored space.

Images courtesy of Andrea Bartolozzi, Greta Costeri