The Milan-based architectural studio Vudafieri-Saverino Partners designs places that make people “feel good”. Tiziano Vudafieri and Claudio Saverino talked to THE Stylemate about how to transform a brand into an interior and why food may even taste better in a nice restaurant.
Interview: Nina Prehofer
Peck – considered the temple of Italian gastronomy – has just opened a new venue in Milan. It is located in a 300 m2 organically-shaped pavilion. What difference does it make when walls are “round” and not straight?
Tiziano Vudafieri: The round walls introduce a fluid space, a more harmonious relationship between spaces and people. This obviously requires a greater level of technical complexity both in the design and in realization. We always design in relation to the context and to the needs of each place; every project is the result of these elements.
How did you transform the brand into design?
Claudio Saverino: Peck is a classic Milanese establishment that has been open since 1883. We designed a place that combines all its distinctive features: delicatessen, restaurant, wine bar and cocktail bar. The most important part of our work was to create an environment rich in symbolic elements, capable of expressing the fundamental features of Peck’s historical identity and at the same time of reconciling it with a more contemporary dimension. The new Peck is in fact located in the most contemporary district of Milan, under the skyscrapers of the CityLife Shopping District. At the same time, we wanted the project to communicate the strong link between Peck and the city of Milan, in which the legend of Peck established itself.
Tiziano Vudafieri: For this reason, we chose materials and solutions that represent a subliminal homage to this strong relationship. The flooring is reminiscent of traditional Milanese stone, the Ceppo di Gré from the quarries of Lake Iseo; the restaurant’s false ceiling, with wooden panelling, recalls Villa Necchi Campiglio by the great Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi; the struts that hold up the shelves are evocative of BBPR’s Velasca Tower.
How did the theme of “delicatessen eating” influence your design?
Claudio Saverino: The theme of delicatessen eating had a central role in the project and is a distinctive feature of Peck CityLife. The folding tables by the counter, designed to the millimetre to be able to open and close, multiply the seating options and offer an alternative to a table in the restaurant. Eating at the counter is a completely different experience: it strengthens the relationship between food and people, between selection and tasting, and between preparation and consumption.
What are the fundamental points to consider when designing a restaurant?
Tiziano Vudafieri: We believe that design complements the food. The Italian entrepreneur and racing driver Enzo Ferrari claimed that a nice car runs faster; perhaps the same thing can be said of a restaurant? Our relationship with food has to do with the senses and with our willingness to be surprised. The interior design has exactly this task: to favour as harmonic as possible a relationship between the people and the place so as to prepare them to approach the food in the best possible way.
We believe that every project
represents someone or something and
tells a story.
Which trend can you identify right now?
Claudio Saverino: In the first period of globalisation, brands and projects tended to repeat concepts that were always the same, wherever they were in the world. Now, there is instead a need to differentiate while maintaining continuity in the narrative. For this reason, we design, for the same brand, places that are very different but share the same level of identity.
How do you seek inspiration?
Tiziano Vudafieri: We believe that every project represents someone or something and tells a story, and for this reason, the architecture or the interior design must be consistent with this narrative. In line with the kind of project, we seek inspiration in the brand history, values and tradition and by observing the place, its previous incarnations and its memories.
How would you describe the way you work?
Claudio Saverino: We design places to live in, with the goal of putting the client, or whoever will use them, at ease. The projects must make people “feel good” because the inhabitant is the main subject and empathy with the place is the most important part of every project. Through architecture and interior design, we create and condition relationships between people. A project must therefore be a form of story-telling, but start by listening to stories.
VUDAFIERI-SAVERINO PARTNERS is a design firm specialised in architectural and corporate design projects and based in Milan and Shanghai. It is run by partners CLAUDIO SAVERINO and TIZIANO VUDAFIERI and their approach is based on both architectural culture and sensitivity to current trends in design, fashion and art, dialectically and transversally leveraging their experience and knowledge in these sectors. Since 2000, a significant part of the firm’s activity has been devoted to retail design projects for luxury prêt-à-porter brands such as Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Jimmy Choo among many others.