Union Square, NYC
Pizza may be ubiquitous, but good, smart pizza paired with good value wines and iPad ordering is a new concept. Add a cool restaurant design and the experience is elevated in every way but price.
Pizza Vinoteca combines inventive grilled pizza, wine cruvinets dispensing 32 varieties of terrific and reasonably priced wines and a digitally driven ordering system. The inspiration for the design by James Biber of Biber Architects includes the digital aspects of the restaurant, the wine selection and the pizza grilling and finishing process.
Black and white bar codes (turned sideways) speak to the digital while cork floors and ceilings reference wine bottle stoppers. The combination of warmth with black and white, accented with a red background to emphasize the heat of the grill, sets the restaurant apart from the crowded scene. White and clear glass line the exhibition kitchen displaying the handmade qualities of the pizza, along with a view right into the grill itself.
Branding is paramount because this concept is made to travel; the next location is in Arlington VA, with others to quickly follow. The seamlessness between the 3D and 2D identities is the result of Douglas Riccardi, of the graphic design studio Memo, working closely with Biber Architects to keep the brand carefully delineated. Whether it appears on the iPad ordering screens, the menu wall, wine displays or the order tracking monitors, the striped brand, tempered with Italian references, tie the experience together. Scroll down through the images to see more of the graphic branding
Riccardi used Bodoni (a typeface featuring thicks and thins) along with the thick and thin stripes of the wall patterns, to reference the Italian roots of Pizza Vinoteca, along with the gigantic black and white mosaic tile mural of Sophia Loren. The mural is the magnet that helps guide people to the largely concealed dining mezzanine, and to drive home the restaurant’s Italian provenance.
The stripes are constructed of recycled milk bottles: a plastic lumber product made for decking and other outdoor uses, giving the space a sense of texture and materiality within the digital motif. Back-painted white and red glass lend a polish and crispness to the exhibition kitchen, and walnut trim details pickup the warmness of the cork.
The palette is a simple combination that, like the simple ingredients of a pizza, can be recombined to produce infinite variety and richness.
The concept for Pizza Vinoteca was developed by Stephen Asprinio and is now being rolled out by a group led by Julius Numavicius. The design was featured in the Currents column in The New York Times March 13, 2014, and the reviews continue.