|Project Name||Caffè La Tana||Posted in||Café, Restaurants, Design, Food Design / Gastronomy, Interior Design, Photography||Opening Hours||8am - 6pm Daily|
635 Commercial Dr.
Vancouver, BC BC V5L 3W3Canada
|Telephone||+1 604-428-5462||Design Studio||Ste. Marie|
Channeling the effortless elegance of historic Italian interiors, and offering an eclectic selection of Italian culinary delights, Caffè La Tana in Vancouver, Canada, is a revamped, New World version of an Italian alimentari, a small, usually family-owned grocery shop and deli that you can find in most Italian neighborhoods. But whereas the typical modern alimentari is a modest affair, packed with rows upon rows of wines, bottles of oil and bags of dried pastas, La Tana has been flamboyantly designed by Vancouver-based studio Ste. Marie as a whimsical tribute to the old-world charm of Italy’s 19th century cafes. Deep green marble, antique shelving, classic checkerboard floor tiling, and a tailor-made, hand-drawn wallpaper comprise a sumptuous interior where guests can sip their espresso, indulge in a lunch of house-made pasta or shop from a selection of the finest imported Italian meats, cheeses and dry goods.
Suitably located in a Vancouver neighborhood often referred to as ‘Little Italy’, La Tana was conceived as ‘the den’ (which in Italian is loosely translated as la tana) of Savio Vople, or the cunning fox, the mascot of Ste. Marie’s creative director Craig Stanghetta and Paul Grunberg’s first culinary venture, Osteria Savio Volpe. Cunning as he is, the team’s beloved fox needs a place to keep his treasures and La Tana is just the place.
Although the venue has been inspired by the Old World charm of 19th century Italian architecture, the designers have also drawn from the modernist architectural style and minimalist design principles of Italian Architects Carlo Mollino and Carlo Scarpa, and Austrian/Czech Architect Adolf Loos in order to imbue the design with irreverence and originality and create a sense of familiarity, charm and comfort.
The standout element of La Tana is undoubtedly the front bar whose cubist volume of green marble is enriched with subtle hints of yellow and white veins. Featuring a staggered orange marble ledge and brass rail across its entire length, and a variety of niches and nooks for product display, the bar makes a bold sculptural statement, Baroque in craftsmanship and élan yet Modernist in design, while the pasta station at the far end allows guests to see the fresh pasta being made firsthand.
A subdued colour palette of monochromatic, muted grey-greens tones coupled with the black and white checkerboard tiles on the floor create an elegant canvas onto which a trove of bespoke design elements build on the narrative of the fox’s den. A custom wallpaper, which takes the form of a slender frieze which also lines the bar’s display niches, was designed by Ste. Marie’s Kate Richard with images pulled from archived Pomology & Zoology textbooks. Visually inspired by the walls of Victor Hugo’s Hauteville House and Carlo Mollino’s Turin apartment, the wallpaper’s iconography is a reflection of this narrative, “exploring”, as Richard explains, “how the fox’s den becomes this neighborhood gathering place, where food brings the community together”. The fox itself appears surrounded by a bounty of food, hailed by his fellow forest creatures in the meat station’s custom tile backdrop which was designed and hand-painted by local artist James Daviduk.
The modernist forms of the stonework and custom art are playfully juxtaposed with the ornate plaster rosettes and wall-mounted sculptural elements as well as the aged surface texture on the walls created through a hand applied plaster technique, not to mention the eclectic collection of rare Italian antiques, objects and fixtures which were purchased with the help of Antique and Architectural Salvage expert Scott Landon. The collection of antiques includes a 60 year old map of Venice’s trading routes, a late 19th century Italian mirror and a rare brass pendant fixture designed by Luigi Caccia Dominioni in 1965. Pieces like these, along with the bespoke artifacts that adorn La Tana, are “a physical manifestation of the Italians’ age-old gift of making art out of life” as the designers say, but they could also very well be part of the Savio Volpe’s trove of pilfered treasures.