Vudafieri-Saverino Partners has designed the Italian cafe “Latteria”, just opened in the district of Islington, an area that has seen an authentic renaissance in recent years, thanks also to a flourishing gastronomic scene. The architecture studio based in Milan and Shanghai, author of some of Milan’s trendiest restaurants has brought all its experience to London.
Inspired by Milanese culture and style, the restaurant reinterprets in a contemporary key the charm of the old latterias (“dairy stores” in English): places where you can eat genuine, homemade dishes, in an authentic and traditional context. The outcome is an eclectic environment in 1950s style, characterized by a warm and informal atmosphere. The gourmet offer includes healthy dishes inspired by tradition: from homemade pasta, risottos and pizza, to sandwiches and salads, made with Italian culinary expertise.
Laid out on two levels on Essex Road, the restaurant stands out for the strong visual impact of its interiors, where details are the real protagonists. Formica tables with aluminum frames, zinc counters, seminato flooring, diamond tiles, exposed bricks and pendant lamps shaped like dessert moulds, are the elements that give the environment its personality.
Two signature colours characterize the space: warm white, reminiscent of the color of milk, and red, a shade that characterize also the exterior façade. The materials hark back to the 1950s: surfaces in semi-gloss lacquer and laminate, polished and satin-finished steel, and zinc.
While the ground floor is distinguished by its deli-counter and lively atmosphere, the lower floor offers a more intimate space, with a cozy dining room isolated from the buzz.
The restaurant’s exterior recalls the aluminum windows of the ‘50s. Its bright red color, the signs that stand out like pop-ups and the large windows that direct light into the restaurant, immediately grab the attention of passers-by.
A semicircular drape acts as a curtain for the show that commences once entered the restaurant: on the right guests are greeted by a zinc-covered bar counter, where they can have a stand-up coffee, according to Italian tradition. Proceeding inside, a second counter entirely dedicated to the display of dishes traverses the room. On the wall opposite to the entrance, serving hatches allow to have a glimpse of the kitchen.
The restaurant area is divided into three rooms. The first, on the same level of the entrance, has eco-leather benches typical of the ’50s. A few steps lead up to the lounge room, where a large velvet benchmarks out the perimeter. On the lower floor, the room walls are covered with red vinyl wallpaper, interrupted by two glass display cases, which can be turned on by lighting the items contained in it. Throughout the restaurant, there are shelves and cabinets, in the 50s dairy style, designed to display pasta, oil, pickles, wines and other products.