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Inside Michelin-starred Contraste Restaurant: A Visual Feast of Colors and Culinary Artistry

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

Stepping through the small iron gate on Milan’s Via Meda 2, visitors are transported into a world of tranquility and elegance. The beautiful courtyard serves as a buffer from the hustle and bustle of the city outside, leading guests to the mezzanine floor of a historic 19th-century building. Here, they encounter a hidden gem known as Contraste, a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers impeccable service and a truly memorable dining experience. Designed by Debonademeo Studio, the restaurant’s interior is a visual feast, with each room showcasing a unique color palette that creates a sense of intimacy and exclusivity. From the dramatic entrance adorned with a shimmering champagne-colored foil to the captivating wall sculpture “the secret,” Contraste promises a culinary journey unlike any other.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

Rather than being a simple restyling endeavor, the renovation of Contraste’s interiors was a result of a meticulous scientific analysis conducted by a technical committee. This analysis unearthed various elements from the late 19th century, including surfaces, stuccoes, decorative apparatus, and frescoes. Debonademeo Studio, the design firm responsible for the project, skillfully transformed the spaces, creating a versatile and captivating environment. The rooms were seamlessly divided into five distinct areas, comprising four restaurant rooms and a relaxation area. The layout was carefully crafted to promote a sense of natural flow and cohesion, eliminating the need for interior walls.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

Debonademeo Studio, with a concrete and stylish approach, adapted the internal distribution of the rooms to meet contemporary requirements. This ensured a more fluid hierarchy of paths and rooms within the restaurant. Restoration specialists were enlisted to meticulously restore the original elements of the building, such as doors, windows, stucco work, frescoes, handles, and the grand wooden fireplace.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

The project aimed to provide diners with a comprehensive and immersive experience, focusing on their psychological, physical, and sensory comfort. The dining tables were designed to create a serene atmosphere, allowing guests to fully enjoy the new menu. This was achieved through the careful consideration of acoustics, the use of sound-absorbing curtains and floors, and the strategic placement of lighting. During the day, the lighting accentuated the natural daylight streaming in through the expansive windows, while in the evening, it softly illuminated pathways and created cozy corners of gentle light.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

Each room in the dining area drew inspiration from one of the four elements – Air, Earth, Water, and Fire. These elements were associated with specific colors and were transformed into enigmatic spaces, incorporating elements of symbolism and intrigue. The visual design of the rooms presented a puzzle-like composition, where contrasting and unexpected details coexisted with symbols of water, light, earth, and air. The intention behind this design was to stimulate, uplift, and surprise customers during their meals.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

The dining area itself resembled a grand theatrical stage, where the chefs and staff played as significant a role as the customers. The customers were not only spectators but also co-stars in this unique dining experience. The design of the dining room incorporated the themes of hospitality and contrast, creating a welcoming and dynamic ambiance.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

The Tarkett vinyl flooring in various shades of pink, blue, light grey, and anthracite, along with the boiserie and wall cladding, were chosen for their aesthetic appeal. These elements serve as the creative inspiration behind the unique and elegant design of the restaurant’s rooms. The wallpapers adorning the walls of each room were specially designed by Debonademeo Studio for Wall&Decò, drawing inspiration from the Four Elements. The tables are illuminated by metal arch lamps with a champagne finish, designed by Debonademeo Studio in collaboration with Karman. These lamps feature slender stems that culminate in conical flowers, creating a delicate and jewel-like appearance. The restaurant also features Pedrali’s ‘Liberty’ tables and ‘Ester’ leather armchairs. To add a dynamic touch to the space, fluorescent yellow trolleys with large wheels were designed by Debonademeo Studio for the waitstaff, allowing them to easily transport food and drinks to different tables.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

In addition to the main dining areas, there is a separate Relax room adorned in a reserved Klein blue color. This room features a few bar tables with a fluo orange Fenix finish by Pedrali, as well as a long wall bench upholstered in grey leather. The room is illuminated by “Braille” glass globe ceiling lights from Karman, adding a touch of elegance. The toilets, designed as an extension of the reception area, feature reflective boiserie in a champagne-finish metal, Tarkett QT vinyl flooring and wall coverings, and a long single-bowl washbasin made of pink marble from Portugal, designed by Debonademeo Studio. The washbasin area is illuminated by Karman’s “Braille” globe ceiling lights, creating a visually stunning effect.

Contraste Restaurant, Milan, IT / Debonademeo

The name of the restaurant not only represents its renowned gastronomic offerings but also takes guests on an immersive journey through contrasting sensations. The flavors of the dishes are mirrored in the perceptual interplay of the interior design, where cold and warm colors, rough and soft surfaces, and historical and contemporary furniture pieces seamlessly coexist.