Australian studio Biasol takes visual cues from Ancient Rome to designs the interiors of the newly opened Pentolina Italian restaurant on Little Collins Street in Melbourne. Biasol looked to Rome’s rich culture for inspiration and designed the interiors informed by the building’s existing fabric, historic Roman ruins and typical Italian pasta bars.
The renovation of the century-old building revealed hand-rendered concrete walls that have been refined to provide a patinated backdrop suggesting the stone façades of historic Roman laneways.
A double-curved counter with bar stools is the central feature of Pentolina evokes the nostalgia of old-school pasta bars realized for inner-city dining. Spanning the length of the restaurant, the counter unifies the key functions of the restaurant: the bar, cookline, pasta making and dining. In true Italian fashion, the setting encourages guests to engage in conversation with each other and staff, while offering the opportunity to see and smell the fresh pasta being homemade on site. The curves of the bar are mimicked in the overhead shelving, which enhances the sense of intimacy.
Materiality and color play an important role in the design of Pentolina, a design detailed to unite the charming European character of Rome fused in Melbourne’s style. The bar stools and ceiling are deep burgundy (a color said to inspire food cravings), and the rose-colored marble bar is reminiscent of the pink granite of ancient Rome. Terrazzo floors draw on a longstanding legacy in architecture and design, originating in sixteenth-century Italy; scalloped Tasmanian oak lines the bar front bringing a charismatic warmth; with metallic accents of bronze and brass.
Biasol designed Pentolina’s brand identity to forge a stronger connection between the business and interior, infusing it with a sense of place. The freehand typography is inspired by handmade pasta and the Italian expression “facciamo la scarpetta” – the ritual of mopping up delicious pasta sauce with fresh bread.