Year: 2017 Place: Pescara
The project was to recover an old building by rethinking its use and therefore its spaces. Transform, recreate, renew, model, eliminate, amend and, finally, reach the maximum point of balance between form, substance and function. This is how Abruzzo designer Michele Mezzina found himself faced with a stimulating creative challenge: to transform a building – near the Pescara river – from the administrative offices of a gas distribution company into a new body dedicated to catering, culinary workshops, presentation of local products and their sale.
The interventions first of all took place on the structure of the building, characterized by an uncomfortable fragmentation into small rooms, too small for the intended use.
A large part of the masonry was removed, gutted and replaced with more functional iron girders and pillars: this radical game of subtraction and addition, has produced a new entrance portal characterized by a clear break between the original building and this new insert in glass and metal.
The new structure, made up of six large windows framed in metal pillars, covers the entire height of the structure and welcomes customers with industrial elegance and luminosity. Next to it, a sign similar to a tower identifies the place: “Piazza Mercato”. The work plan has therefore provided for the elimination of a part of the only attic maintained, in favour of a large double volume dedicated to the reception, as soon as you cross the entrance: the great airiness is the first thing that strikes you, followed by the delicate effect of color (light tones on light tones) created by the floor tiles; the long industrial style counter and the walls deliberately left in a “ruined” state, creating that effect of lived-in so appreciated today.
The removal of the attic – the floor of the second floor of the restaurant – allows to fully enjoy this first environment, characterized by large openings, glass, wood and iron that make up the structures and fixtures. Light and matter recall each other, contrasting and enhancing each other: the light filtering inside, increases the lightness of walls and floors as well as enhances the dark iron windows.
While proceeding inside, you can also enjoy a superelevation, a new intermediate floor (made of wood and iron) that you meet before reaching the large upper terrace. But the jewel in the crown of the new Piazza Mercato is of course the roof: made of steel and wood (the real protagonists of this construction work) with aluminum roofing. The new roof is certainly the most striking environment, from where you can enjoy a sunset towards the hinterland of Pescara and at the same time, sweeping towards the Adriatic.
Piazza Mercato is the perfect example of how a restaurant creates a perfect blend of interior and exterior: the large windows allow access to outdoor spaces on the ground floor (where there are gazebos, greenhouses, and spaces for children) as well as the second floor and the roof, characterized by temporary installations, constantly changing depending on the ideas, cooking classes and products offered from time to time.
As the designer himself says: “all these interventions are aimed at making the architectural organism (with its most elementary parts) the real protagonist of the setting both inside and outside, with the ultimate goal of merging these spaces into a single entity”. The result was therefore an innovative place both for its structure and its concept, which shows how – with the right stimuli – the most ambitious ideas can become reality.