The designers behind such fabled Liverpool drinking holes as Alma de Cuba, Korova and Leaf have applied their skills to a new pizzeria chain making its debut in Warrington.
Liverpool's R2 Architecture designed the 140-cover, 1,100 sq ft restaurant at 14 Bank Street in Time Square for Baffito's Bar & Pizzeria, which plans to open ten outlets by 2014.
Peter Thompson, managing director of Baffito, which is taken from the Italian baffi meaning moustache, set R2 a brief to create an interior that pays homage to Italian dining whilst avoiding theme-bar cliches.
R2 Architecture's director, Richard Eastwood, said he took inspiration from traditional Italian culture, rather than traditional Italian design.
Eastwood stated "Through the interior, we set out to capture the gregarious public life of an Italian family, hence the decision to divide the space up into a range of clearly defined zones, each with their own character and sense of place."
The build cost for the interior was £350,000 not including fees. The restaurant is divided into piazza, trattoria, garden and cafe. The architect's narrative explains:
The piazza area juxtaposes farmhouse-style furniture with zesty bright colours, laid out on a checkerboard floor. The large hand-drawn illustrations on the walls map out the Baffito's brand story, whilst referencing the striking inner city graffiti found in Naples.
The cafe, with its caged light-bulbs, customised chairs and olive leather booths, is the most informal area, where the clientele can relax with a cappuccino, away from the hustle and bustle of the main restaurant.
The communal seating in the trattoria encourages shared dining, on bench style furniture which sits on a quartz terrazzo floor that glistens under the subtle lighting system, echoing large Italian family dining.
A distressed steel letterbox bar, flanked with high stools allows diners to eat directly at the open kitchen, with a perfect view of the flames from the magnificent stone hearth oven.
The romantic indoor garden sees booth seating framed with a pergola dressed with potted floral displays and trailing ivy, bringing to mind the Italian garden dining areas of many of southern Italy's family homes.
SB Studio developed the branding. The restaurant opened in mid-February.