Norm Architects have the magic touch. You know it, we know it – there’s not a project they produce doesn’t have us impressed by their ability to find and refine an design to the crucial elements; no clutter, no unnecessary flourishes – just beautiful, functional spaces.
Beauty and function are definitely on show in the Italy Restaurant in Copenhagen, the first of a planned chain of restaurants run by the owners of popular local bistro Cofoco. Drawing on a Mediterranean influence, the design blends an Italian aesthetic with a gentle Scandinavian twist.
The restaurant’s layout is set across two spaces, the first following the glazed building facade and the second set back further in the building. The two spaces a subtly defined; the first featured hexagonal black and while tiles, white walls and ample natural light while the second space is charactered with raised wooden flooring, large communal tables and an earthier colour palette. Throughout the interior, nods are given to traditional Italian simplicity with the ultra matte yellow walls and shades of rich blue in the upholstery, while the potted plants and sandy colours throughout the spaces ground the aesthetic in the natural world.
The Scandinavian identity isn’t lost in the restaurant’s design, with the materials and furniture sourced from local producers. The wooden flooring, tables and bar benches are all made by Danish brand Dinesen, while the white chairs and stools were created by Stockholm studio Afteroom and the brass lighting features in the booths were designed by Søren Rose Studio. And of course, with Norm’s co-founders also the creative directors for Menu, various furniture and lighting creations from the cult local brand can be found throughout the space.
With more Italy restaurants planned to open it will be interesting to see how the aesthetic developed for the initial outpost will be translated to future editions. As part of the design process, Norm developed four ‘spatial archetypes’ to ensure the restaurant’s spatial identity can be continued throughout new venues.
True to Norm’s distinctive approach, this is a warm, inviting space that conjures up feelings of balmy Mediterranean afternoon, viewed through a refined Scandinavian mindset.
Dinesen oak is used throughout the design, appearing in the flooring, tables and benches in areas of the restaurant. The bar bench wood was left untreated to allow for marks left by drinks to build character and pattern on its surface.
While the design is primarily based on a colour palette of sandy yellows, whites and woody hues, teal has been integrated in the upholstery and partition walls to add a fresh pop of colour without overwhelming the subtlety of the aesthetic.