Architects: Luigi Rosselli Pty Ltd
Location: Sydney, Australia
Design Architect: Luigi Rosselli
Project Architect: Jane McNeill, Bill McMahon
Project Team: Sean Johnson, Rebecca Martin, Naoko Nishizu, Corrado Palleschi, Carl Rutherfoord, Kristina Sahlestrom
Project Area: 600 sqm
Photographs: Justin Alexander
Renowned Chef Stefano Manfredi and Architect Luigi Rosselli have in common a Milanese origin. The Milano of Stefano and Luigi is the once industrial earth of Italy, its industrial architecture, space, honest and cognizant of the quality of materials. BALLA is a transposition of the life along Milan’s Navigli canals to the shores of Sydney’s harbor.
Osteria BALLA’s namesake was the Milanese Futurist artist Giacomo Balla who co-signed the Futurist Movement Manifesto in 1909. The Manifesto is an ode to industry and machines, one hundred years later the machines and industry have left Milano but the Architecture remains, proud and beautiful.
The kitchen and bar are raised up from the main floor level and are framed by concrete trusses referencing the bridges that span over the Milano’s Navigli canal. Mild steel with visible weldings and fixings are used throughout the fit-out referencing the steel industry of past Milano, and the wine storage inspired from factory floor pigeon-hole racks.
The waterfront side of the restaurant has come to be known as “The Avenue”. The Avenue is the connection between the inside of the restaurant and the larger waterfront landscape beyond the facade. Its rhythm is set by the large structural columns located inside the operable glazing facade.
The columns are important links between the internal landscape of the restaurant, and the natural harbor side landscape. The columns are architectural trees, clad with a modern floral mosaic tile, and branched with industrial Lingotto light fittings designed by Renzo Piano. Arranged in a Futurist inspired geometry, the multi-colored ceiling panels above form a canopy of “foliage” and “sky”.
Luigi has connected his childhood memories of the first “Futurist”, Leonardo da Vinci’s painted ceiling and walls of the Salla Delle Asse at Milan’s Sforza Castle, and the Sydney landscape in a most unexpected combination.