“Umore” is a project about the renovation of the basement of a historic building located in the main square of Marina di Ragusa, a tourist seaside city in south-eastern Sicily, and its conversion into a cocktail bar.
Despite the certainly favorable position for this type of activity, the project had to deal with the difficulties related to accessibility to the bar and the small size of its interior space. The front of the building is characterized by a portico consisting of three arches that are misaligned with the internal elevation of the building in which are located the enters. Therefore, a triangular veranda acts as a filter between the bar and the square, making the activity hardly visible to passersby; the entrance is also compromised by the huge thermal machines and air exchangers left exposed in the corner outside.
The project is resolved with the insertion of a multifunctional element: a connecting tunnel consisting of iron arches that advance from the portico to the bar entrance, giving to it an unexpected view on the square and consequently new visibility.
The structure then bursts inside, crossing the entire vaulted room and ending its run on the back wall. The mirror set into the last arch "breaks through" the room and generates a new virtual dimension that reflects the tunnel itself, the objects, the lights, the colors, and the space that comes amplified.
In addition to containing the functional components of the work area, the tunnel hosts all the room's technical elements such as the lighting fixtures and the thermal machines, freeing the remaining space to the clients.
The iron profiles are painted black, while the counter and back counter shelves were lacquered with liquid brass. The metal mesh that wraps the arches of the external structure and a portion of the internal one was treated with the same material. The function of the network is to filter the systems and, thanks to a special opening system, allows their maintenance. The metal mesh's lightness also enhances the material strength of the teal Corian counter and the olive green resin floor by contrast.
The project entrusts the only decorative element of the interior to the pictorial work of the artist Giovanni Robustelli. Reinterpreting an ancient fresco, the work envelops the entire vaulted environment. An explosion of colors mix in a cocktail of emotions and, advancing uncontrollably, reveals hidden natural figures. The skillful shading and dilution of the artist's colors allow the pictorial veil not to impose itself overwhelmingly but in harmony with all the architectural elements.
The project is completed with a covered structure on the square that offers outdoor seating. This element takes up the concept of the connecting tunnel and proposes it again, adapting it to the needs of the external conditions.
The iron structure surmounted by an outdoor tarpaulin can be closed and moved: by removing the lower braces, it is possible to close the arches together like an accordion. The metal feet, at the base of which the wheels are inserted, are equipped with a telescopic system that allows to level the terrace adapting it to the slope of the square. The result is that of a light temporary architecture, a necessary condition for obtaining municipal authorizations to occupy the public square.