HABITAT STUDIO - Materia Spazio Cucina, a dining experience as much convivial as possible
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Materia Spazio Cucina, a dining experience as much convivial as possible


Hospitality  /  Completed

Materia | Spazio Cucina is located at the second floor of Habitat Boutique Hotel building. The idea was to keep the space and the dining experience as much convivial as possible and to maintain a connection between the kitchen and the restaurant guests. The entrance is deliberately the same as the original apartment; the welcoming character is that one of a residential building, as the most modern and refined home restaurants. There are totally four tables of eight people each, and the approach is rather of sharing as opposed to individuality and privacy. The kitchen becomes accessible with the creation of a chef table. The customer is invited to dine by the chef patron, who organizes a private dinner and thus reserves an insight into the kitchen.

The Restaurant is located at the second floor of a 19th century building located in the heart of the historic center of Catania. The entire building, facing Via Teatro Massimo on the north side and the courtyard on the south one, consists in two block: -the main building with a floor to floor high is about 4.50 meters and is characterized along all floors by stucco vaults decorated with high-reliefs plaster; between the third and fourth floor instead, there are no vaults but an attic, probably built in a more recent period. -the lower block with volumes that branch off from the main building and develop around the inner courtyard; the one to the west side is where the restaurant is located. The sloped roof has an internal height that span from 4,5 to 6,5 meters.

The project consider the maintenance of the existing envelope and the use of dry techniques to reduce waste materials. The studio's philosophy is also centered on the theme of reuse. The choice for the flooring was to keep the original decorated cement tiles, which were replaced to create a "carpet" of tiles surrounded by a layer of 3 mm gray cement resin. Simple materials were used such as ecological cement resin and untreated metal, the latter also used as a covering for furnishings, as well as low-impact technical systems that meet the requirements for reducing co2 consumption.

In the building, the main structure was maintained, and the existing floors were consolidated with steel beams and corrugated sheets. The perimeter walls of the building were lined internally with plasterboard to facilitate the passage of the new electrical system. Some of the walls have been subjected to scarification in order to leave the original wall textures visible. The intervention related the installations was considerable as the building did not have any installations except for the electrical part, which was in any case obsolete. The air heating and cooling system was created with a ducted system consisting of an outdoor unit installed on the roof, indoor units, micro-perforated metal pipes. The system is regulated by a control and management panel. For the lighting part, different light effects were studied. In line with the tables, linear LED ceiling lights have been installed, while strip LED were placed along the existing walls. On the tables instead rechargeable LED lamps. A precarious structure was built, which today houses the new kitchen rooms, lined internally with a double layer of plasterboard while panels of black metal sheets were placed externally; between the two layers, the cavity was adequately insulated with high-density insulating panels and was used for the passage of new installations. From the outside, the new all-metal volume contrasts with the existing masonry and plaster building.

Materia Spazio Cucina just a few months after its opening is representing a challenge for the offers of downtown Catania. The restaurant was infact recently awarded a mention as a top restaurant in the 2023 Michelin guide.


 Habitat srl
 157 mq
 Marianna Nociforo & Antonio Spera
 Habitat Studio


Habitat Studio was founded in 2014 under the direction of Antonio Spera and Marianna Nociforo, and it is mainly involved in hospitality, commercial, residential, and institutional project.
Over the years, with the constitution of Habitat srl, the architects have focused more on the hospitality division, with the adaptation of existing spaces but also with the design of new buildings. The core business of the office takes shape by experiencing all the facets of the hotel industry with the creation of Habitat Hotel project; the architects therefore had the opportunity to take care not only of the renovation of the building but to try their hand at the art direction of the whole company by creating furniture elements built and assembled by them in person, such as wooden tables and steel nightstand, selecting fabrics and taking care of all the graphics associated with the project image.


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