Designed by q-bic architectural, Luca and Marco Baldini completed the bold project in less than 90 days. The unplastered pillars, the once-tiled now unceramiced walls, the one long, though sectioned, tree trunk table running almost the entire length of the restaurant, purposely rusty tables, the cookpot sinks in the toilets: all deliberately distressed touches of brilliance and bravery in a high-ceilinged and vast open space with a variety of moods. It is called a concept-restaurant, but is much more than that: a collection of tastes, flowers, fragrances, design items and live music; an unconventional space bringing several spirits together, where the architecture and interior design office, q-bic selected the brand Karman to light up the ten and more areas the large space is split into. ‘The instruction to the workers was to leave things unfinished, not to do things perfectly,’ explained Luca. ‘I think they thought we were mad. But now they’re proud and keep bringing their friends and family to show off their handiwork.’
Karman is the lighting partner for an important redevelopment project in the city centre of Florence, seeing La Ménagère rise again: from the ashes of the historical 1500 square metre space on two floors in via de’Ginori 8r where, from the end of the 19th century, Florentine ladies could once find all they needed to lay their elegant tables, a unique space is now born, inaugurated just recently. At the heart of the ‘concept restaurant’ is Ilaria the florist. Smiling, warm and welcoming, she put down her bouquet of beautifully arranged flowers to explain to me that she closed her established shop in the Gavinana neighbourhood to take part in the La Menagere project. ‘I believe so much in the idea that I shut up shop after 12 years in the same place. My customers are so curious that they are coming into the centre to see where I am now.’
Then the Bar area, with its counter lit up by the oriental shapes of Alì&Babà, where Cristian Guitti, an international barman, offers his ‘cuisine in a glass’ – a lab for new alchemies and to experiment with the different preparation techniques for infusions, smoothies, smoking processes and much more still.
Coffee and pastries have their special space to the Caffè, lit up by industrial Nando, a metal joint grasping a micro-holed tube, designed by Luca De Bona and Dario De Meo a place where you can drink coffee with an international touch, but with care taken over the typical Italian taste blend.