Oggi means ‘today’ in Italian, as this space is a modern interpretation of all things Italian, simple, with a playful personality, and inspired by the squares and piazzas of Italy.
In a city packed with Italian restaurants, Osteria Oggi outstands for its sophisticated finishes and high detail. The Australian practice Studio Gram is responsible for this space located in a former optometrist’s office and warehouse in the heart of the Adelaide, Australia.
Vaulted ceilings, archways and a long narrow bar start at the shop front, where your focus is drawn to the rear of the space. There, the play of light through its roof and the draped greenery from the garden capture the essence of Italy.
The repetition, the materiality and the formal nature of the Italian locations have all influenced the outcome; a calming, seemingly outdoor space, where the palette is soft enough to allow the users other senses to experience the tastes and the smells that come from the kitchen above.
This then influenced the overall idea – a long narrow bar, that opens to an ‘outdoor’ (it’s not actually outdoor, it is under a sawtooth roof) dining room. The introduction of this key focal point, and greenery became very important to capture the essence of Italy.
Architects and Studio Gram co-directors Dave Bickmore and Graham Charbonneau wanted to create the space based on an Italian narrative. “We had this idea to create a piazza,” says Bickmore. “So the first move was to bring an outdoor space inside.”
The architects repeat the arch feature throughout the restaurant’s front section, creating overall cohesion. A concrete double-sided bar cuts the narrow section in half, and introduce the idea of an aperitif bar (commonplace in most parts of Italy).
“We essentially built a building inside of a building. There is only one original wall remaining.”
Accentuating the cosmopolitan ambience, two communal dining tables extend at the rear space and arched compartments with booth seating encircle the perimeter. The kitchen is located on its own mezzanine level, and the indoor garden suspended above the tables becomes the most innovative expression. “It’s a cross between a traditional arbour and contemporary pergola,” Charbonneau explains. “And we used it to add a sense of theatre.”
Photography by David Sievers