In the shade of the towers of the Vertical Forest, Billiani dresses up the Bio.it restaurant in the heart of the Isola district of Milan
Commissioned by Ristoro Bio srl, architect Ingrid Fontanili chose Billiani’s Gradisca and Tracy chairs to fit out the new Bio.it restaurant in Milan. The restaurant is located beneath the two towers of the Vertical Forest designed by Studio Boeri, inaugurated last October and honoured the following month with the International Highrise Award, an international competition that awards prizes to the world’s most beautiful skyscrapers. Many Billiani seats have been used in this restaurant, totalling around 130. These include solid beech wood Gradisca chairs and stools designed by Werther Toffoloni, and Tracy chairs made from turned solid beech with solid wood strip backrests, designed by Emilio Nanni.
The restaurant spaces are spread over an articulate plan which had already been partially divided into two separate rooms. Today these unwind through an indoor space of about 140 m2 and a 70 m2 glass-enclosed terrace. Arriving in front of the entrance, located in Piazza de Castilla, you can admire the towers of the vertical forest and the winter garden surrounded and covered by glass windows, thanks to which this evocative view is always accessible from any part of the terrace. The presence of nature is extremely important, both externally and inside the restaurant. Here, potted essences and aromatic plants have been placed amoung the tables, narrating the combination between functionality and whimsical originality. Inside, pots made from recycled plastic are upturned, as though dropped from above, bearing witness to the architect’s artistic side.
Passing alongside the terrace through the only entrance, you can immediately see the operational areas. The long single-piece counter made from antique brushed fir, and an entirely visible kitchen measuring around 40 m2, are intentionally placed in direct contact with consumers, who are thus intimately introduced to the live activities and can sense from the outset the basic themes behind the project: aesthetic rigor and clean lines, warm environment and healthy eating. “Bio” and ecology have been sought conceptually both in the food and in the study of spaces and furnishing, for which salvaged wood, water-based paint, artisan pottery and other generally eco-sustainable materials have been used.
In the first indoor hall we find high sneak tables and a large and articulate system of shelves made from salvaged fir wood and bleached fir. This runs all the way along the centre of the restaurant and allows the organic products on offer to be displayed. The second hall appears seamlessly, this time larger and brighter, offering various situations to give the spaces movement: individual tables, paired tables, chairs and group benches, as well as a long group table made from a single trunk of a white poplar tree. Wood, although with very different finishes and workmanship, is the predominant feature in the whole project.
The choice to use Billiani chairs was no coincidence. The success of this historic Italian company is based on simple but fundamental key points: artisan know-how, attention to detail, a quest for the best quality materials and a high level of specialization in the manufacture of wooden chairs, stools and armchairs. Many variants have been presented in this project: the natural or bleached wood frames of the Gradisca chairs and stools can be seen alongside seats made from natural or bleached wood, or painted red, green or blue. These are used in combination with the light blue internal group table, which brings out the carpet of Vietri ceramic tiles on top of which the table has been placed. Green Tracy chairs can be found on the external terrace, placed alongside the group table whose base has been made from a salvaged trunk. All the coloured chairs have been painted with a combined cycle that includes a first coat made with a water-based paint, and a protective finish.