Liverpool’s R2 Architecture designs flagship restaurant for new UK chain Baffito's.
The interior architects behind Alma De Cuba, The Brink, Leaf and Panoramic Restaurant have unveiled their latest project: Baffito's Bar & Pizzeria in Warrington, Cheshire. Client Peter Thompson’s brief was to create an interior that pays homage to Italian dining, whilst avoiding theme-bar cliches. The answer, says R2 Architecture’s director Richard Eastwood, was to take inspiration from traditional Italian ‘culture’, rather than traditional Italian ‘design’. Whilst the restaurant’s menu echoes classic Italian cooking, the Italian references are much more subtle in the decidedly grown-up interior, which is startlingly contemporary and full of surprises.
Eastwood stated “Through the interior, we set out to capture the gregarious public life of an Italian family, hence the decision to divide the space up into a range of clearly defined zones, each with their own character and sense of place.” The romantic indoor ‘Garden’ sees booth seating framed with a pergola dressed with potted floral displays and trailing ivy, bringing to mind the Italian garden dining areas of many of southern Italy's family homes.
The ‘Piazza’ area juxtaposes farmhouse-style furniture with zesty brights, laid out on a checkerboard floor. The large scale hand-drawn illustrations on the walls cleverly map out the Baffito’s brand story, whilst referencing the striking inner city graffiti found in Naples. The laid back ‘Cafe’, with its caged light-bulbs, customised chairs and olive leather booths, is the most informal area, where the clientele can relax with a cappuchino, away from the hustle and bustle of the main restaurant.
The communal seating in the ‘Trattoria’ encourages shared dining, on bench style furniture which sits on a quartz terrazzo floor that glistens under the subtle lighting system. Echoing large Italian family dining. A distressed steel letter box bar, flanked with high stools allows diners to eat directly at the open kitchen, with a perfect view of the flames from the magnificent stone hearth oven. The 140-cover venue is the first of a planned roll out of ten sites. The scheme was a truly collaborative project between the client, R2 Architecture and SB Studio who developed the branding.
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