magazine | Food & Drinks | Coffee Shops
You Have to See to Believe How Cool This New Museum Café Is
Heather Ash
byHeather Ash

When you hear the words "museum café," visions of lackluster pastries and florescent lighting probably pop into your head. We're happy to report on a new café that is in fact inside a museum that's boldly breaking that stereotype. Caffè Fernanda, the new cafeteria of Pinacoteca di Brera Museum in Milan, Italy, was restored and designed  by architect, Giuliano Lamele. The museum has a long and storied history, dating back before World War II and was ulitmately affected by the bombings of the war. Post-war, Fernanda Wittgens, the gallery's visionary director, reopened the museum in 1950 – and yes, you guessed it, the modern day café is named after him. 

Today, the café is a Mid Century inspired homage to the director, museum and a very special (and very large) piece of art residing inside the space. Reimagining classic Mid Century style, the architects created a sleek, timeless experience for patrons of the Pinacoteca di Brera Museum. We spoke with the architect about his vision for Caffè Fernanda and learned more about his design decisions. 

Want to see more new spaces? 2019's Hottest New Openings Across the Globe is now live → 

Photography by Michele Nastasi  | Architecture by Giuliano Iamele with rgastudio

How did this project come about?

When we saw the space for the first time we were strongly impressed by the 17th century painting by Pietro Damini the “Conversion of the Duke of Aquitania.” The project started from there: the proportions and the design of the bar are related to this large-scale artwork.

Tell us about the design inspiration.

The design of the round-edged bar is inspired by ribbed wooden furniture from the ‘50s, albeit with inverted proportions: enlarged, semi-circular strips of Canaletto walnut, topped by an uncharacteristically thin, antique-brass surface. The entire project is based on reinterpreting the space’s 1950s architecture. We were inspired by the beautiful furniture designed of the 50’s by Osvaldo Borsani.

How did the Pinacoteca di Brera Museum influence your design decisions in this space?

The Cafè is conceived as part and parcel of the museum tour. We wanted to have a chromatic and material coherence with the gallery’s new layout. 

What is your favorite part of the space?

The long padded benches where you can sit comfortably, have a drink while admiring all the artworks exhibited in the Cafè.

Plan your visit to Pinacoteca di Brera Museum →

Want to see more new spaces? 2019's Hottest New Openings Across the Globe is now live → 

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