Bringing a Taste of Sicily to Milan
Located in Milan, the recently opened restaurant Muddica Piacere Siciliano promotes the quality and tradition of food from the island of Sicily. Like all Italians, Sicilians are fiercely proud of their cuisine. Due to the fact that it is located south of the Italian peninsula though, Sicilian food also has the benefit of Mediterranean culinary influences.
It seems appropriate then that Muddica’s owner, Adriano Egitto, chose a Sicilian architecture firm to lead the design and conversion of a former tailor’s shop into a restaurant, bar, and deli shop. All aspects of the design were directed by Studio DiDeA, a young multidisciplinary practice from Palermo, Sicily specializing in interior design and branding.
The long and narrow space has been divided into two linear sections. The first division happens vertically at an archway, separating the restaurant into two rooms of roughly equal size. For the second division, Studio DiDeA created what they describe as "levels" within the restaurant: the bottom, which is intended for guests to eat and drink, and the top, which hosts products for sale on a series of shelves. Both of the divisions celebrate the beauty of the bare structural elements while emphasizing simplicity of material.
The first of the two rooms features a sleek and minimal counter constructed of steel, which operates as a bar and deli counter. Opposite the bar are three tables that can move along the wall on a sliding track system to obtain different configurations. A pragmatic solution to the issue of limited space, this track system lends efficiency by accommodating different party sizes.
Studio DiDeA also designed the industrial furnishings within Muddica, including bar stools that sit below the counter, tables, and shelving units, all of which have a uniform modular style. In an effort to keep production local, the furniture was made by Sicilian artisans out of pinewood and iron. Above the bar, wicker lamps from Ikea give the space a soft glow that pairs well with the more structured materials found throughout the space.
An exposed brick archway acts as a partial separation between rooms. Thus, diners who occupy the back of the restaurant experience the ambiance of an informal trattoria, highlighting the flexible nature of the small space. While the renovation was taking place, a wooden ceiling with heavy beams was revealed, which contrasts with the thin and elegant pinewood furnishings.
The shelving units hovering over the tables are stocked with Sicilian products. In the entrance, there’s a large assortment of wines and in the back section, a selection of olive oil, olives, tapenade, tomato sauces, and other Mediterranean staples. Muddica uses and sells its own brand of artisanal olive oil made from Sicilian olives, and each bottle is marked with the same logo that can be found on the exterior of the restaurant.
The slate gray storefront is clean and minimal and on either side of the front door, potted orange trees recall citrus trees in Sicily, one of the most iconic products of the island. The food and products of Sicily, as well as the accompanying modern and versatile design components of Muddica, have become welcome additions to the city of Milan.