La Biglietteria is the new restaurant and American bar, located inside the old box office of the historical Kursaal Santalucia Theatre in the centre of the city of Bari, in southern Italy. Designed by the Italian architecture practice SMALL – Soft Metropolitan Architecture & Landscape Lab, the restaurant interiors take inspiration from the New Deco, highlighting elements of the existing structure, like the bardiglio marble floor, the vaulted ceiling, the original box office and glass sign.
The Kursaal Santalucia Theatre was one of the iconic buildings in the centre of Bari. As an example of late Liberty style, the theatre opened in 1925 and was refurbished at the end of the ‘80s by the Italian architect Paolo Portoghesi who designed the emblematic curved timber decoration around the three opening doors.
The American bar is characterized by a three-lobed bottles shelves with a structure made in glass and aluminum combined with a counter cladded with timber strips tracks. In the front of the counter, a nine-seater round bar table separate the entrance and the bar from the restaurant area.
Inspired by the natural shapes and flapper aesthetic from the ‘20s, the walls around the restaurant area are decorated with wall panels on the shape of split arches composed by mirrors, Vienna rattan inserts and painted sections.
The majority of the furniture has been produced by local craftsmen, using fine materials like the tabletop in terrazzo with brass beading, benches and upholstered couches with emerald green velvet and Viennese chairs with velvet acid green upholstered seat. The chandelier with its minimal shape redesigns the antique suspended candle holder. The ceiling lights on top of the bar are designed by aura Alesi and Silvia Braconi for Karman.
The access to the toilet is covered by wallpaper with geometric patterns that create a playful reflecting effect through the circular mirrors. In the toilet, an intriguing pattern composed of a thousand eyes seems to mischievous staring at the client.
“It has been an honor having the chance to work in such an iconic building,” says Andrea Paone, project architect. “The aim was to reinterpret and turn the glorious past of the theatre, full of history and culture, into a contemporary and dynamic space respectful of the of its heritage.”