A modern Italian restaurant where the simple menu runs parallel with the decor.
Located in the historical northern city of Mantova, Ristorante LaCucina offers a place to gather and share over the freshest fare, in one of the most streamlined interiors in Italy. A former clothing retail shop, the space was completely renovated in 2011 by Diego Cisi and Stefano Gorni Silvestrini of Archiplan Studio. The team worked from scratch, white washing the interiors and punctuating the main room with custom-made light oak furniture by Visual, strategically placing everything to allow for communal meals or more private dining. Exposed industrial lighting runs along the high ceiling—the collaborative work of Cisi and Elia Pavesi and Nicola Pianori of ENDS Studio—giving diners a reason to gaze up and appreciate the "little density" of the spacious area.
Although the interiors are modern and spare, small details add warmth: bottles of wine, books, and other domestic accoutrements line the shelves, adding a homelike feel, thus capturing the true essence of Italian dining.
Above: Some of the original rustic brick lines the entrance; the front glass door and windows allow plenty of light to shine through and reflect off the white walls. Cisi says that his passion and work at Archiplan involves "trying to hold together the opposites, such as strength and fragility, the perfect and the imperfect." This includes marrying a new piece of furniture that just left the factory with the "unpredictability" of older building materials that may be falling in a state of neglect.
Above: Family-style seating is the norm at LaCucina. Cisi and Silvestrini worked closely with the restaurant's three owners—two cooks and a computer engineer, on every decision. The aim was to create a communal and "peaceful" environment for people to share, ultimately offering a place to dine that feels more like being in a large home kitchen than a public restaurant.
Above: A simple palette and high exposed beams accentuate the dining room's ample space and linearity.
Above: A more intimate seating for two; white Porro chairs accompany the Visual table.
Above: The custom-made serving counter; dried meats hang from exposed piping, doubling as decoration against the white subway tiling.
Above: An incandescent light installation illuminates the front window; Cisi collaborated with Pavesi and Pianori on the finished piece.
Above: Looking into the front bar; solo diners can find respite here and enjoy watching the street traffic.
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