Caffè Bellini is a contemporary Italian restaurant and bar, located on an 18th century building in the historical centre of Lausanne (la Cité), Switzerland. The owners, who have another very successful establishment in the city, were looking for a joyful and relaxed ambiance, that would be neither stereotypical of Italian restaurants nor a “standard” modern designed one. It was, at the same time, very important to them that the new place had two different and independent spaces: a sit down dining area, and a bar, where people could have drinks standing up or eat on the counter and high tables.
With a young adult public in mind, the concept for the interior design was inspired by the “best of holidays in Italy”, mixing elements and colours from the country’s vibrant and traditional street markets and remarkable cinema. The restaurant side is a colourful mix of twentieth century design classics and vintage industrial pieces, brought together by a vivacious mural honouring the Italian film director Federico Fellini. And at the bar side, high tables and a long black and white counter for both the preparation of drinks and food evoke a traditional food market.
With no original architectural features or materials to be recovered, one of the main concerns was to bring character and a ‘sense of tradition’ to this newly renovated space, without making it look “fake”. This was accomplished/ done through the use of traditional and repurposed materials, such as cement tiles, marble, metro tiles, and repurposed woods (i.e. old oak floorboards from a local farm to build the bar tables and old doors from a demolished manor in France for the bar panelling). The two different floor coverings in the main room where used to indicate a distinction between the “food and drinks preparation” and “seating” areas. The first, in geometrical cement tiling, comprises the bar counter and the corridor leading to the kitchen, and the second, in oak floorboards, both the bar and restaurant areas.
Overall, the cheerful ambiance created by the integration of different materials and colours can be perceived throughout the entire venue. The two different zones work well together, but don’t interfere with one another: the dining area is light and colourful, with convivial tables and a hint of humour. And the bar area, has a “food market” feel, with high tables and a large marble counter for the preparation of food and drinks.