Have you ever been in a cocktail bistro without chairs, tables and tablecloths? Welcome to the Vernissage.
The Vernissage "sustainable cocktail bar" project starts from a very specific idea, namely that of responding to the requests of the client in a new, different, unsettling and revolutionary way: this was how we approached the design. No rooms with tables with comfortable seats along the perimeter of the room, but a succession of spaces that refer to an artistic dimension, almost to a contemporary art museum.
The bistro is located in Naples, in the historic center, along an artery full of imposing buildings such as the Principe Umberto Gallery, the Bellini Theater and the Academy of Fine Arts, not forgetting other nearby monumental buildings such as the National Archaeological Museum and the Church of St. Maria of Costantinopoli. All this constitutes the scenario in which the Vernissage fits, a meeting place between history, beauty, culture and contemporaneity.
Behind the Vernissage concept there is a young, sophisticated and responsible environment that wanted to bring something new to Naples and that looks to the future with a positive and optimistic vision.
The idea is to create a meeting space where food and drink can coexist with music and art.
A neutral space, which can be set up for art exhibitions, cultural events, musical happenings and more, which is based on a sustainable and architecturally democratic approach. The rooms of this "exhibition gallery" are not intended only for established artists but want to be a space above all for emerging artists who can thus exhibit their art, since unfortunately not belonging to any intellectual elite denies the visibility that many young artists deserve. In this sense, the proximity to the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples it's something that really contributes.
Hence the design choice to create an undefined, versatile place, without spatial hierarchies that could give people freedom of interpretation of the space and its use.
We have chosen to replace the conventional use of tables and chairs with the insertion of volumes of dimensions that are very different from the standard of furnishings intended for classic hospitality, but refer to a dimension that is more suited to an exhibition reality.
The Vernissage is made up on the ground floor of three rooms in succession, within which monolithic volumes of different sizes are articulated which can be used as seats, tables and supports, or pedestals for the exhibition.
The rooms are wrapped, on the internal wall, by a "ribbon" of burnished metal which places them in continuity with each other, also visible from the outside of the room through the large windows overlooking the main road.
This long metallic boiserie, which characterizes the whole room, culminates in the illuminated bottle rack where it breaks down and changes its shape, becoming a container and background for the volume of the bar counter, embellished and characterized through the application of glazed clay brick louvres with a vermillion able to light up thanks to a back-placed crystal panel.
In addition to being a compositional element, the metal boiserie is used as a technical compartment for lighting, the audio and ventilation system and, last but not least, as an exhibition surface.
Walking along the "ribbon" a passage opens through which one enters a "mystical" space: almost as if we were entering the belly of Naples we find a concrete staircase that winds through a double-height space dominated by the red color of the clay that covers the walls, at the end of which we are introduced to the first room in the basement: the wine cellar.
The bottles are arranged on a single wall inside a full-height backlit metal and glass case, housed on overturned suede saddles. The wine cellar, as well as the metal railing that accompanies the concrete staircase, was designed and made to measure for the project. Beyond the wine cellar in the basement we find a waiting room that leads to the public toilets, which are located inside completely amber-coloured boxes, in ceramic and clay, which are revealed through the opening of some metal walls arranged along the boiserie.
To meet the needs of sustainability, from a design point of view, only natural materials have been used, such as clay, wood, iron and leather, both in the fixed and mobile furnishings, made of solid wood and rope.
The area of approximately 250 square meters is completed by another four exhibition halls deliberately unfinished and now closed to the public, with the idea of not delivering a definitive project but with the desire to "complete" it through a democratic listening to new ideas and energies in a process of collective transformation, in which the role of design will be to give it shape.
All this has led to an innovative project both in its appearance and in the use of its spaces, giving Naples a breath of fresh air with a European flavor, contributing to the redevelopment of this part of the historic center which today is finally rediscovering the cultural ferment that deserves.