Matera, Italy
Project Year
Pierangelo Laterza


mancastudio as Architects

The restaurant pizzeria Oi Marì is located in the heart of the "sassi of Matera.” It is divided into different environments dug into the limestone, each with a different shape due to conformation of the cave created by man over the centuries. Oi Marì was born in 1999 thanks to its young owners who are Materan and Neapolitan. They were enthusiastic about wanting to introduce to Matera the Neapolitan culinary tradition. Over the years, their enthusiasm has evolved and their skills have led them to generate their own unique style of cooking.

"We wanted Oi Marì to have a different look." With this sentence Sara, Mary and Luca decided, after so many years, to turn the page and to show themselves in a different light to their customers. The pizza remains on the menu as a staple of their tradition, but the kitchen has evolved into refined and essential dishes. Their request was to empty the old room of past trappings and to make the environment essential, just like their kitchen; while still honoring the history and traditions of the Neapolitan pizzeria. This is where our inspiration comes from, design must respect the client’s desire, "remove, not add;” to tread lightly with a few, weighted, essential elements that can be the of a renewal.

The entrance from the small bar/reception area discretely welcomes the visitor, accompanying him through a succession of rooms of various shapes and sizes. The largest room is characterized by the presence of a wine cellar holding over 2,000 bottles.The bottles are nestled inside pre-existing niches while separated from the hall through a glass and metal structure. This is the crown jewel of the entire project. Being able to place within a strongly characterized space, not only an exhibition of wines but a real winery, was a great desire of Luca, who is a connoisseur of wines.

All the rooms are treated in the same way; the beauty of the cave has been enhanced, leaving the limestone completely exposed and introducing a few simple functional furnishings for use. All the furniture, the iron structures and the lights were entirely designed by the architects and crafted by local artisans. The lighting fixtures, inspired by the rolling pin used to roll out pizza dough, are the connecting element between the old and the new, between the tradition of the past and the vision of the future.

The rolling pins are not whole but cut in half. It is therefore, a form that remembers tradition, reinterprets it and assigns it a new function, namely that of illuminating the rooms and the tables. The final product is the marriage between the old and the new, the desire not to make noise in a place that sometimes seems sacred, to respond with care and attention to the customer's request, giving him the convenience of working with a functional design and a warm and harmonious aesthetic. The design choices have also led to the enlargement of the kitchens and new spaces in the dining room, thus making the viewer discover environments that existed before, but were not rightly valued.

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