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Ritu Dalmia and Viviana Varese’s new Milan restaurant shows a confluence of cultures

Architectural digest 2019-10-10 07:00:49
Spica by Ritu Dalmia and Viviana Varese is a beautiful culmination of two cultures

Spica by Ritu Dalmia and Viviana Varese is a beautiful culmination of two cultures

Designed by the Italian Studio Vudafieri-Saverino Partners, Spica’s interiors combine Asian influences with references to the great Milanese design, resulting in a lively, multicultural and colourful atmosphere. The two celebrity chefs, Indian Ritu Dalmia and Italian Viviana Varese, share a common passion for world cuisines. The restaurant celebrates their love for global foods, offering a gastronomic journey through four geographical areas—Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Europe and America.

Spica’s interiors combine Asian influences with Milanese design

Dainty Details

Spica is located in an industrial building with six large windows overlooking a vibrant Milanese street and an inner courtyard. Vudafieri-Saverino Partners have enhanced the pre-existing space of the restaurant. Spica retains evident signs of the past, such as the seeded floor (integrated with cement in the missing parts) and a wall brought back to its natural appearance where the layers of time are evident.

Six large windows overlook a vibrant Milanese street here

Milanese Design Tradition with Asian Influences

In their homage to Milanese tradition, Vudafieri-Saverino Partners have combined the freedom and radical design of Ettore Sottsass, with his deep passion for India, and the elegance and rigour of the modern movement of Franco Albini. The interiors and furnishings of the restaurant showcase two distant worlds—Italy and India, which interact harmoniously. At the entrance of Spica, guests are greeted by an impressive 8-metre-long bar inspired by the Milanese ones of the 1960s, with its antiquated glass background, powdered brass top and long suspended bottle rack for the cocktail station.

The 8 metre long bar is designed in an eye-catching manner

The reference to Sottsass is immediately evident in the radically free style of porches, which define the architecture of the restaurant and mark out the sections. In contrast to the neutral framing of the ceilings, these elements are characterised by wallpapers with coloured patterns and fluorescent geometric inserts. The furnishings of Spica are clearly reminiscent of the great Milan masters of the ‘50s and ‘60s, first and foremost Franco Albini, who was the inspiration for the two pieces created for the entrance and the dining room. The restaurant’s columns and walls are decorated with multi-coloured artworks by South African artist Jaco Sieberhagenc. He has created a series of shapes in laser-cut black painted metal, which give an ironic representation of the symbols of Italian culture, from fashion and design, to industry and gastronomy.

Architectural Wonders

The large ceiling lamps in the dining room, designed by Andrea Anatasio evoke the shapes of typical Indian agricultural implements. The furniture used as a service station creates a charming corner with the wooden floor and plants on gravel, giving the feeling of being in a garden. Spica’s bathroom also stands out with its fresh and whimsical atmosphere. The bathroom features geometric wallpapers and bright colours along with a long washbasin with a single sink and laminate shell and iconic Seletti mirrors. The mirrors have fun prints on them adding to the bathroom’s quirky ambiance.

Adhering to the Vastu Doctrine

Another reference to the Asian world and its spirituality is the restaurant’s layout. Spica’s spatial plan follows the rules of Vastu (“science of construction” in Sanskrit). The restaurant’s rooms are designed around the cardinal points recommended by Vastu, so as to create spaces that invoke well-being and harmony.


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