Where much hospitality design these days relies on nostalgia for bygone eras, Di Stasio Citta, on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD, looks boldly forward. As much art installation as dining room, this project is so unique that the jury posits it will be impossible to imitate. The restaurant’s striking minimalism combines with modern uses of technology and a remarkable level of restraint. There is no signage on the exterior and blank stucco walls have no switches, powerpoints or control panels. The bar hides all working areas and speakers are integrated into the window frames. This is a design aesthetic that prioritizes what is not seen, with guest experience the most important factor. For all of these reasons, the jury felt that Di Stasio Citta was a standout winner and an exceptional restaurant experience that will live on for many
years to come.
Restaurant, art gallery, institution – Di Stasio Citta is a unique crossing of Australia and Italy, unlike anything else yet still representing the character of Di Stasio. Working within an existing
shell, building faults were hidden behind plasterboard and aluminium cladding. The designers stripped everything back to the bare structure, revealing the concrete cracks and celebrating them by polishing, smoothing and sealing. Planning was restricted by the bathroom location – forced to the centre of the main restaurant. A lengthy town planning battle finally allowed the bathrooms to occupy a narrow corridor on the facade. The outcome is Reko Rennie’s neon camouflage Visible Invisible that adorns the facade. Locally crafted furniture made specifically for the restaurant was built to last. The only compromise: time. The floor took more than six weeks to complete, bringing everything to a standstill (no concrete trucks, just two workers hand-mixing and pouring). The result is an egalitarian, hard-wearing finish. Nothing temporary here.
Di Stasio Citta
45 Spring Street
Project team: Di Ritter, Bronwyn Uphill, Laura Casey
23 Hickson Road
See the whole gallery of images at the Eat Drink Design Awards website.
The 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards are organized by Architecture Media and supported by major partner Chandon Australia; supporting partners Harbour, Latitude, Ownworld, Roca and Tasmanian Timber and event partner Four Pillars Gin, Jetty Road Brewery and S.Pellegrino.