2021 Eat Drink Design Awards: Best Restaurant Design – co-winner

Jury comment

An italian restaurant housed in the newly opened Parramatta Square building, CicciaBella eschews the boring over-industrial treatments often associated with new construction, instead relying on a sophisticated suite of materials to create a truly unique restaurant. The jury looked at imaginative and unexpected use of textures such as coir mats, unpainted Besser block, open-seam suede, crushed cardboard upholstery, and chiseled bluestone. More playful touches include galvanized steel walls, some of which hide storage space, and stained cotton streamers and concrete columns engraved with graffiti by street artist Benzo. The designers intended to reference the natural stone, dark wood and leather of a traditional trattoria, but rather than a literal interpretation, they created an entirely new place that is distinctive, timeless and often fascinating – “a difficult thing to do when there is no existing condition to rely on,” as one juror noted.

Design statement

Commissioned by restaurateur Maurice Terzini, CicciaBella combines theatrical drama and polished urban grain. He respectfully recognizes the materials found in Italian trattorias (soft velvet, natural stone, dark wood and leather) but with a clean ethic. Flanking Parramatta Square, it attracts hours of spontaneous aperitif after work with its generous open-air space. Tapered folding glass doors join the generously appointed terrace, enhancing biophilic connections during the warmer months. Inside, a lofty brutalist drama unfolds with Besser blocks, concrete, and steel articulating the harsh angles and oyster-gray tones of the cavernous space. Their weight and rigor are delicately balanced with kinetic elements, bursts of color and the comfort of supple suede benches whose raw and open seams tear the severity of the architectural fabric.

Project credits

Design practice: Interior design by Fiona Lynch; Group project: Fiona Lynch.

CicciaBella is built on the land of the Darug people.

See the entire image gallery on the Eat Drink Design Awards website.

The Eat Drink Design Awards 2021 are organized by Architecture Media and supported by supporting partners Roca, Latitude and Yal Yal Estate; and presenting partner James Richardson Furniture.

The Eat Drink Design Awards are endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Design Institute of Australia.

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