La Menagere, Italy

September 11, 2015

Once a hub for Florentine ladies of the late nineteenth century to find all that they needed to lay their elegant tables, a unique space is born again in La Ménagère, Florence, through Karman’s new lighting scheme.

The concept-restaurant is a collection of tastes, flowers, fragrances, design items and live music sprawled across the 1,500sqm space in several sections. The unconventional layout brings together elements where Karman has illuminated the architecture and interior design across the different areas into which the large space is split. Each environment differs in style yet all are united by a modern take on retro furnishings and fixtures including suspended, table, wall and floor lamps.

Entering through the concept-shop from the main entrance, Karman paid homage to La Ménagère’s roots with particular attention to lighting the shop that sells tableware, kitchen tools and a selection of home items. Guests are met with Mek Meccano-shaped hanging lamps by Karman designer Bizzarri Design, serving as an elegant and warm detail in the entrance of such a large space. Across from the shop, a flower corner flaunts rare plants and fresh bouquets through the seasons, glowing with Karman designer Matteo Ugolini’s Lucilla suspension lamp with its bare iron structure and Life pendant covered in denim with a vintage finish.

Moving through the open space, guests then reach the large hall across from the main entrance. With a clean, airy light, this open area features Karman’s Kimono lanterns in white fiberglass and Settenani pendants in rough concrete, also designed by Ugolini. The Dharma suspension lamp, designed for Karman by Italian Edmondo Testaguzza, is also incorporated to complement the lanterns and pendants. In conjunction with purple and pink suspended foliage, the space maintains a fresh and homely atmosphere, reflected in the Lucilla suspension lamp, which uses space within its own bare structure to illuminate and add detail without clutter.

Beyond the large hall is the concept-restaurant’s kitchen. Ugolini’s white ceramic Gangster suspension lamps feature here, as well as his Via Rizzo7 pendants in matte ceramic – reminiscent of old, round street lamps – lighting up the cooking space. To the left of the main entrance is La Ménagère’s gallery featuring an eighteen-metre long table lit by Ugolini’s white ceramic Déjà-vu Nu suspension lamps. The venue also features a private room with another of Ugolini’s creations, the Au Revoir white glass chandelier, suspended above a table used for meetings or private dinners.

The coffee bar to the right of the entrance houses a coffee counter lit up by the oriental shapes of Ali&Baba, where Cristian Guitti, an international barman, offers his experimental skills in infusion, smoking and smoothie making techniques. The café tables are illuminated by the industrial yet delicate Nando pendant from Karman designers Luca de Bona and Dario de Meo, a metal joint grasping a micro-holed tube.

With an eclectic mix of contemporary design evoking traditional themes of the Italian home and cuisine, Karman’s scheme delicately illuminates a challenging space with a sensitive goal. Its history embedded in aesthetics, this concept restaurant stands as testament to the abiding blend of modern and rustic design, and the significance of the minute detail no matter what the space.

Pics: Sofie Delauw