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This Restaurant In A Skyscraper Transforms An Old Milan Complex For A Metropolitan Audience

Andrea Maffei Architects refresh a former office floor to house the first Milan venue of 3-Michelin star restaurant, Da Vittorio's new concept, DAV


A visit to a metropolis such as New York, Shanghai or Tokyo is made even more fabulous when you dine in a restaurant within a skyscraper.  It's almost a requirement to complete the big city experience.  In a sophisticated urban environment where pockets of greenery mingle with steel and glass buildings, a retreat that hosts fine dining provides a delicious experience marked by the polished appeal of cosmopolitan life. The new restaurant concept by 3-Michelin star Da Vittorio, DAV,  is located on the first floor of the Allianz Tower designed by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei within the Citylife complex.  It has transformed the old Milan fairgrounds into a new part of the city with skyscrapers, residences and a large public park.


The floor where it is situated used to accommodate an office space with an outdoor terrace.  For its current incarnation, it was converted to house the first venue in Milan of the three-Michelin star restaurant Da Vittorio in the new DAV concept, designed for a younger, more metropolitan audience.

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Andrea Maffei Architects, DAV Restaurant in the Allianz Tower in Milan, Italy. | Andrea Martiradonna


The plan of the tower has two cores and a long rectangular space in the center, glazed toward the terrace. On the north side is the restaurant kitchen, on the south side is the guest reception, and the central space is devoted to the restaurant starting with an initial cocktail bar and then following the long glazed facade to the outdoor terrace.


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Ground plan of Ristorante DAV by Andrea Maffei Architects. | Drawing by Andrea Maffei Architects
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All the architectural spaces were designed with the same finishes so as not to separate the areas, but to give the idea of a single fluid space that unfolds as it follows the client to the table. The main architectural theme consists of a long wooden paneling, composed of pyramids that rotate in various ways resembling fractals. This wood paneling extends consistently on one side of the restaurant and becomes the leading theme of the project, serving as a backdrop to the main room.   Grazing lights from  above emphasize its geometric patterning with shadows and reflections, all the way to the kitchen. The paneling also covers the doors to the bathroom and to the technical shaft to make them disappear into the geometric design.


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Andrea Maffei Architects, DAV Restaurant in the Allianz Tower in Milan, Italy. | Andrea Martiradonna


The floors are walls in the rest of the restaurant is covered in Laminam’s Pietra piasentina stoneware in a light gray color that defines a neutral, textural base. In addition to the bar counter, there is a hors d’oeuvres counter and a glassed-in pizza box where clients may see how food is prepared. Chefs are in full view as they create dishes and become a spectacle for customers. All counters are covered with light gray pleated Thala stone to continue the idea of a cold gray base on which the textural warmth of the cherry-colored paneling is set by contrast.


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The design includes lighting concentrated on the walls and on the tables. The setting is softer and more metropolitan, and the focus is on the tables. The client requested that the ceiling be all serviceable to access the fixtures for maintenance. Its design follows the windows and doors with long dark gray wood laths. A series of slanted laths defines the shape of sound-absorbing panels that can be easily removed to do maintenance. The laths are coupled at points where adjustable spotlights are provided for concentrated lighting on the tables.

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Andrea Maffei Architects, DAV Restaurant in the Allianz Tower in Milan, Italy. | Andrea Martiradonna


The large outdoor terrace is the restaurant’s other backdrop, through the long windows of the Allianz Tower. It includes an additional cocktail and hors d’oeuvres bar in the center, with the same Thala stone finishes as those in the restaurant. Tables and seating are arranged around the bar, following the progression of the green pools that create the terrace landscape. Large roll-up curtains cover the outdoor spaces during the summertime.


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Andrea Maffei Architects, DAV Restaurant in the Allianz Tower in Milan, Italy. | Andrea Martiradonna