Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

 

In honour of Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week 2015, both of which are officially kicking off tomorrow, we are starting this week with one of the hottest new additions to Milan’s deliciously fertile restaurant scene.

Three creative partners – Carlo Cracco, Tanja Solci and Nicola Fanti – and a dramatic vintage-industrial setting have come together to create a new restaurant and cocktail bar Carlo e Camilla in Segheria, situated in Milan’s Navigli area. The venue opened its doors earlier this year to what was almost guaranteed acclaim.

 

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Celeste Cima, Courtesy of Nachi-Comunication Arts.

 

Carlo Cracco is a celebrated Italian chef who trained with the best, made his name, earned Michelin stars and became chef-patron of a world-famous Milanese restaurant Cracco Peck (ranked in Top 50 World’s Best Restaurants). Tanja Solci is an art director in Milan and the owner of the venue. She is the patron of the restaurant concept and the woman behind the interior, housed in an old sawmill acquired by her grandparents in the 1930s. The soaring structure and raw industrial interior is given a sexy edge with big crystal chandeliers. A single white table in the form of a cross seats 65 diners in a communal arrangement, adorned with paper cloths and napkins with doodles by food-artist Gianluca Biscalchin, Cappellini chairs and abundance of rare Richard Ginori fine-porcelain tableware. This is one Milan design experience not to be missed.

Read on for a little Q&A with the designer Tanja Solci.

 

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
The dream team. Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

 

+What was your design inspiration and starting point for this project?

When I met Carlo Cracco and his wife Rosa in order to show them the Segheria site, it was the first time we had ever met. From the first smile, we all had a great familiar feeling and the project came together in just few meetings. I imagined the concept story from the first meeting and I knew from the beginning that it had to be an inspired and imaginary story.

Cracco and Solci, a perfect match for each other: an amazing culinary pedigree and my design vision. And so, ‘Carlo e Camilla’ came together: food and design walking hand in hand. My creative inspiration started from Roberto Da Pozzo, an amazing graphic designer who I worked with for many years who showed me one long table done during an event in New York. Then ‘Babettes gæstebud’, a 1987 film directed by Gabriel Axel. Also, Peter Greenaway with ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’ for light and atmosphere that only Greenaway can make.

I wanted to work on something very special and poetic as I have usually done for my past installation projects, even if this project concerned a restaurant and sometimes design can ‘eat’ all the atmosphere itself! For me there is no design if it is not able to tell you a ‘story’. The first image I had in mind was about a Sunday lunch in the countryside, a long table full of friends, all sitting together and having an amazing informal dinner. So the idea of an imaginary royal couple, in a contemporary age of decadence but still surrounded by memories (chandeliers, old amazing mixed plates, etc).

 

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

 

+ Your favourite thing about this project?

Table and lights were my first priority to be translated from concept to reality. A 25 metre long wooden table fell into the white paint and the hands of the guests that are lit only when they reach the dish while they sit in a kind of darkness. Only the chandeliers are lit from outside like suspended volumes.

Segheria is an old sawmill from 1920 and that is the frame. I love to work with contrasts. Guest feel like they are ‘out of time’. I think I reached the goal: a theatrical atmosphere where every night, every guest sits at the long table and creates a ‘performance’ with their self.

Then I had a lot of fun to choose the right plates. I wanted them to be a mix of a kind of aristocracy and decadence. And I was lucky to find the right brand: Richard Ginori, a very historical Italian porcelain brand full of memories. Then with the idea to call Cappellini and dedicate one side of chairs to Carlo with the Fronzoni ‘64 and the other side to Camilla with the Morrison and the project was done!

 

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

 

+ What was the most challenging aspect?

To create a brand and a format that can go around the world.

To maintain the balance between the magic of the installation set up I had in my mind and the realistic welcome needed for a guest of a restaurant and cocktail bar. The practical needs of a restaurant & cocktail bar needs to combine in my idea of every evening performance.
I believe every historical architecture is a piece of art and that’s why I have kept Segheria the way it looks.

You might think that only practical issues and aspects should really matter to a restaurant since restaurants are not strictly related to art (staff often think that it is definitely not a museum but a restaurant with specific and different issues) and this is actually my biggest challenge!

Also Nicola Fanti, our third partner who runs the restaurant every night is particularly in tune with my aesthetic vision and he is doing the best to protect the project.

The magic and the success of Carlo e Camilla in Segheria is in this fundamental and slight co-existence between art/design installation and being a restaurant, where food is the protagonist as an actor in a movie.

 

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Carlo Lavatori, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

 

+ What did you learn during the project?

To be proud of my ideas and vision and to have courage in delivering the project, as this is the only way to say something special if you are a creative mind. I was lucky to find the right partners in the last past years who made me feel free to express myself.

Today I am particularly happy that my project for Carlo e Camilla has been awarded ‘Best New Restaurant’ in the Wallpaper Magazine Design Awards 2015, which brought so much success to all of us!

 

+ Would you have done anything differently?

Yes and no. Like always, for me there is always something more that I can do… Probably it is the peculiar aspect of a creative mind as like men to be never ever be 100% satisfied!

 

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

 

+ Any interesting, funny, quirky facts you could tell us about Carlo e Camilla?

I have found out the existence of a ‘dishwasher’. With a great effort I succeeded in aquiring 700 incredible and unique original Richard Ginori pieces of porcelain which are now out of production.

After two months from our opening, 300 pieces had already broken. You can imagine how many more after one year! I never thought I could suffer so much!

When my business partner Carlo Cracco proposed me to design plastic plates I was shocked and I thought it was a terrible idea, but now I understand!!!

Now I can definitely better understand why Carlo suggested it would be better if we replaced original vintage plates with plastic ones!

 

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria Restaurant in Milan | Yellowtrace
Photo by Nathalie Krag, Courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio.

 


[Images courtesy of Tanja Solci Studio. Photography credits as noted.]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
Google+

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Nick Hughes, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Interior Design, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places.

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