“How many narratives can a building shelter? Originally built as an annex of a Jaú’s shoe factory, in mid-1925, this building was transformed to a showroom in 2011 when Chiara Meschini and Raul Pabst highlighted its brick walls, but mostly structured this new use by enlarging the openings, framed in weathered steel, and by positioning the bathrooms’ block isolated in the hall, which is made in concrete.
A decade later, the building would be subject to a new function conversion. Curiously, its fully industrial materiality would accommodate another activity in which its protagonism settles down in the artisanal field while preserving its Italian heritage. Therefore, for the reception hall, the project was attempted just for the operation of interior remodeling, foreseeing an occupation of furniture and complementary illumination. Tables and pendant lights were drawn and custom-made for the space.
Taking avail of the existence of the wooden beams from the remodeling date, modular table tops and bench seats were made. Steel tubes were used to yield its base. Also of circular section, but with a much smaller diameter, the existing lighting in the hall – floor spotlights - was appended by the direct light pendants with tight angle beams, which were custom-made, providing a scenic light punctual positioned above the tables, marking its center.
Once the project was finished, it was necessary to expand it, using the back of the annex construction. But that was another story. In this new context, in the building’s portion at the back of the lot, a complementary program would be integrated into the reception hall: a small lounge, a room for booking events, and a private square. The first two rooms, indoors, are close to the kitchen. Distinct from the materiality of the hall and its solid bricks in the walls and wooden slats in the ceiling, these places had the plenitude of white in the floor, walls, and ceiling.
Thus, the project attempted to occupy these spaces, enabling them for new use. The existing furniture, such as sofas and armchairs, were used adapting them by replacing the fabrics. As for the new ones, a polypropylene chair and a table with steel legs, and a solid wood slatted top were chosen. As for the illumination, indirect light was chosen emphatically on the floor, which are small parallelepipeds projected and produced by measure in sawmills.
The final ambiance of the lounge and events room was given by the positioning of paintings, which are figured by representations of 18th-century Napoletana landscapes conceived by Thomas Jones, and complemented by potted vegetation. The access doors to the restricted areas of the pizzeria that face this space of the extension were treated with the arrangement of existing slatted panels, creating a gradation between them.
To the square at the background, the plan was to establish its continuity from the lateral access, a kind of private stone alley. Therefor, this outdoor space received landscaping treatment with the densification of vegetation, both on the floor and in pots, as well as the distribution of furniture to accommodate customers: aluminum chairs and slatted table, aside from a long custom-made bench, placed in the middle of the garden. The lighting here is kept on the floor, with floor spotlights on the perimeter of the walls.”