Italian studio Diorama has transformed an old grocery store in Puglia into a bar and restaurant complete with tropical plants, flamingo wallpaper and neon palm trees. Having previously designed the interiors of Bloom beach bar for the same client, the practice was tasked with recreating the vibe in an urban setting for Bloom in Town, located in the southern Italian coastal town of Molfetta.
“Our clients Gianluigi and Rino were very clear-cut: they asked about something outstanding and original in our city, something fresh, fancy and comfortable. They are well-known for their young spirit and innovative attitude” Diorama sought to achieve this by combining tropical influences with a sophisticated and traditional material palette. Brushed metal surfaces and timber furnishings meet botanical wallpaper and rattan accessories to create a “tropical-chic” aesthetic.
Three key spaces define the 230-metre-square restaurant and have been assigned distinctive themes according to their size. The first and main room is a cavern-like space designed to immerse visitors in the bar’s idiosyncratic atmosphere. A ten-metre-long turquoise bar spans the length of the room, accompanied by botanical wallpaper, rattan light shades and an abundance of vegetation. Bottles are displayed atop black and brass custom shelving behind the bar, and complemented by matching stools and tables.
A second, narrow room with bar seating along either side takes inspiration from the vibrant alleyways of Cuba, with brightly painted walls, worn cobbled floors and soft lighting. The third room references the local area, laying bare the building’s original restored stone walls and emphasising its traditional vaulted ceiling using curved brass strip lighting. Kitschy souvenirs, vintage prints and eclectic mirrors decorate the dining space, creating a cosy and relaxed ambience. The restaurant features a range of bespoke furniture designed by Diorama and produced by local craftspeople, including the main counter, tables and sofas.
The studio has also repurposed local materials such as olive-pressing disks to create accessories including lamp shades. Diorama was founded in 2015 by Italian architect and design writer Serena L. Rosato. The young practice has completed a range of projects, including a several home interiors and a hairdressers. Other tropics-inspired interiors include Amsterdam’s Bar Botanique Cafe Tropique, whose green surfaces are meant to evoke the feel of a rainforest, and Edinburgh’s Eden Locke, a “sophisticatedly tropical” hotel filled with pastels and plants.
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