As architect and creative agency for Pizzana, a l m continues a decade-long collaboration with Sprinkles Cupcakes founders Candace and Charles Nelson. The Neo-Neapolitan pizza restaurant concept is informed by Naples native chef Daniele Uditi’s craft, his new life in California, and the Nelsons’ instinct for repositioning a classic staple in a contemporary context that is relevant.
Transforming a mundane shopping strip into a lively space with substance, the architectural language for Pizzana is influenced by both Italian Modernism and the rugged beauty of the Gulf of Naples. The layered façade with its newly carved out exterior patio engages an interplay of compressed and soaring ceilings which transition into a surprisingly generous dining room focused towards the pizza hearth. The substantial material palette was defined during a research trip of Andrea with chef Daniele Uditi to Naples – reflecting on the deep blue reminiscent of the aqueous hues of Naples, the ashen greys of long Mediterranean shadows, and the splashy burnt reds so emblematic of Neapolitan pizza. These essential qualities were transposed from their Italian origins into the Los Angeles context to create both comfort and a distinct sense of place: basaltino terrazzo and blackened steel framed by a light shelf echoing the blues of sea and sky establish the arrival, while in the tradition of the frescoed wall a site-specific tableau by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Hagen frames the dining room spanning the east wall continuing across the pizza bar where it is counter-balanced by oak paneling along the west.
For Pizzana’s identity a l m created a logo that brings the idea of transposition into relief through the device of forced perspective. A fragment of the logo, a trace, becomes the mark of Pizzana, in the form of an imprint found 3-dimensionally at the entrance, and cited in each design element, from logo to menu, apparel, and website.