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Online Exclusive - Barbatella - Naples, Florida

Jul 11, 2012

By Alia Akkam; photography by Amber Frederiksen

Two Italian sisters are raised on a farm. When they grow up, one moves to a cosmopolitan city; the other chooses to remain in the country. This narrative of siblings indulging in two different lifestyles guided the design of Barbatella, the Italian restaurant in Naples, Florida, crafted by Washington, D.C.-based Grizform Design Architects. At Barbatella, the bar represents the glamorous city sister and the dining room the relaxed countrified one.

“It was difficult because it’s not really a space, but two spaces,” says Grizform principal and owner Griz Dwight, who first collaborated with Barbatella’s owners on nearby seafood restaurant, Sea Salt. “They are two different buildings that are not connected physically, but with a courtyard between them. Our real challenge was to make this work as one restaurant, so we flipped it on its head and made it two different spaces; one has the bar, one has the kitchen.”

Green medallions, more than 1,400 lightweight plaster ones gracing the ceiling, are the swank standout of the bar. “The medallions have a wow factor. It doesn't feel like anything I have seen before and they have a great warm texture to them,” says Dwight. “We imagined the sister going into the city and buying jewelry.”

Beyond the “bling” the bar extends its elegance through touches of terrazzo and candlelight, while brick floors and a copper bar create a rustic undertone that meshes with the vibe of the restaurant. “It’s unadorned. We brought in more earthy materials,” says Dwight of the dining room, but there are still dynamic textural contrasts: “The wall with the copper and leather grid against brick and plaster is interesting. It's a push and pull thing.”

Barbatella, anchored by an open kitchen flaunting a pizza oven, reinforces an honest approach to cooking. This concept is complemented by the vintage photographs that pepper the dining room, featuring the likes of Sophia Loren and Italian comedian Toto savoring pasta. These days, “pasta eating can be a taboo,” Dwight says. “We wanted to say it’s okay to eat.”

hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



Produced by: Emerald Expositions
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