This is a design concept that I’ve been brewing for a long time; an Italian restaurant inspired by real deal Italian-American culture, specifically in suburban areas.
The majority of Italian restaurants in America aim to transport the patron back to ‘the paese’ with a dimly lit wine cellar atmosphere, exposed vintage brick, and warm Tuscan tones. Others focus on first generation vintage Little Italy or the Frank Sinatra/mafioso glamour of Hollywood. And then there are the hundreds (maybe thousands?) more that throw a red and white checked cloth over tables and hang a few vintage posters of spaghetti, grapes and cigars on the walls and call it a day. It all feels overdone.
I’m having a lot of fun collecting imagery to illustrate this concept and I’m loving how the look translates into a bright and airy, kitschy space, elevated to fit any chic neighborhood or up-and-coming chef. I’m calling it ‘The Blue Madonna’.
The Blue Madonna goes beyond the first look at Italian culture in America and highlights the topiary-dotted lawn of Nonna’s awninged split-level house in the ‘burbs.
Here is the inspiration board I put together:
Next I’ll share the details to flesh the idea out – floor plans, sketches, graphics, art features…
In the meantime, I’d recommend brushing up on your Italian-American slang.