Olivomare is the last born belonging to the well known London brand OLIVO – by now an important presence in the aristocratic neighbourhood of Belgravia – and is a restaurant serving seafood. Apart from its name, such peculiarity is highlighted by the formal and decorative language adopted here to focus on its aspect using more or less clear references to the sea world and environment.
The most explicit among them undoubtedly is the wide wall that characterizes the main dining room, entirely covered by a large cladding featuring a pattern inspired by the works of the visionary artist Maurits Escher, in which each single portion of colour is laser cut out of a sheet of opaque laminated plastic and then juxtaposed on the vertical surface exactly as if it was a huge jigsaw puzzle.
To counterpoint it, in this same room, from a channelling recessed in the fake ceiling drops down a linear sequence of tubular luminescent “tentacles”, spirals and twists of tubular nylon mesh (lamps shades “Bigoli”, By Innermost) evoking a stray shoal of jellyfishes or of sea anemones , while someone could vaguely recognize the meshes of fishers’ nets in the wide lozengy glazed partition dividing this room from the entrance lobby.
With regard to this space it should be said that it allows to access both the restaurant and the upper floors, and this through a huge panel split into smaller mobile and fix ones, integrating the necessary doors and taking up the colour scheme of the decorated cladding in the main dining room. In order to make appear this last one wider, the partition wall existing between it and the entrance lobby has been knocked down and replaced by a full height glazed partition supported by a rather thin frame (yet perfectly fire and smoke proof), which allows the best possible visual integration of these two spaces.
Other important features of the main dining room – apart from the tables (“Dizzie”, by the Italian Arper) and the chairs (“Lagò”, by Ph.Starck for Driade) – are the upholstered white seat, entirely suspended on stainless steel brackets, and the Corian made bar counter, on the side of which nine large holes hold a stock of cutlery, while a pendant (“Talo”, by Artemide) supplies the light needed by its working top.
Besides the bar area is the opening of the staircase leading to the kitchen, located in the basement. In some alcoves next to it have been located some cabinets containing whatever waiters might need for their service.
The floor of the whole premises is made of just a simple flow of industrial white opaque resin, while the skirting – when not joined to vertical surfaces through a rising curve – is an “L” shaped aluminium profile recessed along each wall and step of staircase.
In the small dining room at the rear (flooded by natural daylight copiously dropping down through a wide skylight expressly open in its roof), the cladding of its only continuous wall – which also includes a large curve – is characterized by a wavy relief meant to evoke the sandy surface of the beach when moulded by the wind. This surface has been finished with a special paint performing a “peach skin” effect (paint “Velvet”, by GA.NI.Color, Italy). In order to emphasize the sculptural quality of such mouldings, a continuous linear light has been recessed into a perimetrical gap of the ceiling.
On one of the few smooth walls of this room, a flush door (made by the Italian manufacturer “Portarredo”) opens on the cloakroom (toilets lobby), where the intricate branches of a coral reef close-in around any visitor coming from the bright and open adjacent room. Such decorative pattern is obtained by engraving a double layer (white and red) of thick opaque laminated plastic glued onto either walls and ceiling, and its entanglement, when combined with the “hidden” doors giving access to the toilets, adds a sense of momentary disorientation to its aesthetical surprise.
Inside the toilets a wide frameless mirror panel, fixed at some distance from the wall, stands above the Corian made sinks (“Slot”, by Antonio Lupi) and the taps (Axor “Uno2”, by Hansgrohe), hiding soap dispensers and electric handryers.
A sea of white colour has been used to enhance and link all these elements together, flooding all surrounding parts, from walls to ceiling, from the resin floor to the Corian made bar counter; a white sea working in this environment as an undifferentiated neutral background that intentionally disappoints any predictable expectation for blue colour.
The shopfront has been redesigned in order to match the existing one at the adjacent premises – where the delicatessen shop Olivino, that complements the restaurant, is located – and it has been painted aubergine colour, so that it can hold a dialogue either with the grey “pietra serena” slabs of the external pavement and with the colour scheme of the interiors’ decoration.
“Olivomare” is a prize winning project: in November 2007 Pierluigi Piu was given in Moscow the “Russian International Architectural Award 2007” for its innovation in public spaces interiors (see separate list of links to the web sites reporting about this). In February 2009 he was given in Munchen the “Archi-Bau Design Award 2009” and, in January 2009, he won the 1st prize of the “International Design Awards 2008” (Los Angeles), for commercial spaces’ interiors.
“Elevation” was supplied with a graphic representation of the pattern that was to form a feature wall approximately 10m long x 3m high. When finished, the wall would contain about 1700 individual curved pieces with a tolerance of less than 0.5mm between each piece. Through a collaborative process with Alex Tudor-Hart, CNC Design engineer at “Set Square Staging”, one interlocking panel solution was chosen of the three possible panels within the pattern. This panel shape was chosen for its economic material usage, straight forward workshop assembly and ease of handling for site installation by one or two people.
Each panel consists of 30 separate CNC components forming one solid surface of three fish,( 3mm flame retarded single sided compact laminate was used for the surface because a veining detail had to be machined 2mm deep into some pieces. ) one 18mm FR MDF core board and one piece of 3mm single sided compact laminate to balance the finished panel.
Two laser cut mild steel stencils were made and fixed to ply bases to form a flat tray. The 3mm compact laminate and 18mm FR MDF panel had adhesive applied to one surface and were laid in the tray. The 30 final pieces were laid on top of the MDF panel and the tray placed in a veneer press until the adhesives had cured.
Fifty eight panels were produced. Installation involved one panel being fixed to the centre of the wall, with a second panel cut through its centre with the lower half being placed on top of the centre panel and finished to the ceiling while the other half was fitted below the centre panel and finished to the floor.
“Elevation” was requested to produce a 3.0m high wall running 4.0m, curving through 108 degrees at a 1.0m radius and running a further 2.0m to conceal a air intake duct for the kitchen. The detailing for this wall was to appear as a large ripple effect that was suppliedin a graphic format.
Working with Alex Tudor-Hart and Daniel Herranz in house CAD / CNC Design engineers at Set Square Staging, a graphic representation of the wall was developed which used a repeating pattern to create a random appearance on panels of varying width. The finished pattern was then transformed into suitable code for production by CNC routing machinery.
The final panels were machined from 3000mm x 600mm x 50mm Class B FR MDF blanks. PCD straight cutters were used for initial bulk stock removal of the ripples producing a staggered tier effect. A custom made dished panel raising cutter with a 100mm radius was used for the final passes, removing the tiers to create the ripple effect and a tapered straight cutter for the final passes on the panels creating the faceted continuos curve over 108 degrees.
Ply battens were fixed to the finished panels to keep them flat and provide a means of invisibly fixing the panels to the existing walls and to one another. The seamless effect finally created contains 832 butt joints where one ripple flows into and out of a panel and the next with a surface tolerance of 0.25mm between panels before finishing.
1hour fire rated Lozengy Glazed partition
“Elevation” worked from floor plans detailing the entrance to the premises and an architectural outline showing the final appearance of the glass partition.
Having consulted with TRADA and researched examples of best practice in the construction of fire rated partitions. A sandwich type structure was designed. This utilized an 18mm ply lattice to carry 800kg of 12mm Pyrobel laminated glass. The ply lattice is encased with 25mm Class B FR MDF surface panels which carry the intumescent material necessary to
border each piece of glass in such structures.
The final lattice components were produced on CNC routing machinery by “Set Square Staging”.
Manufacturer: ELEVATION | Jonathan Perrot
Location: London, UK
Architect: Architetto Pierluigi Piu
Michael Blacker | Michael Blacker partnership
Pedro Gaiolas Pinto | ISOMETRIX
Main contractor: ZIBI & JACK
Air conditioning and extraction: BORAHURST
Fire alarm and CCTV system: M&M ELECTRICAL
Kitchen suppliers and engineers: HCE Foodservice Equipment
Special seats, claddings, doors and partitions: ELEVATION
special claddings of toilets, refrigerated counter, waiters cabinets: IFAS Tasselli
custom made stainless steel fixings and supports: STAINLESS STEEL FIXINGS Ltd and Crown House, Home Gardens
Resin floor: LASERCROFT
Awning: FLAMINGO Blinds & Fabrics
Client: Oliveto & Olivo Ltd.
Total area: 220,95 sqm
Project year: 2007
Photographers: Giorgio Dettori, Pierluigi Piu