The name, Pianoterra (“ground floor” in Italian), reflects a dialogue the duo began in 2018, when they moved their offices to this neighborhood in eastern Paris — to bring architecture to the street, and the street to architecture. The foundational move, with particular attention “paid to the ground” (reflected in the root of the word “pianoterra), was a major inspiration for this new restaurant helmed by chef Rosa Vanina. She links her Sicilian heritage to the present, integrating encounters in a constantly changing urban scene, and promoting local cuisine and sustainable products, yet without being constrained by the dogma of terroir: underpinning her cuisine, for example, is a magnificent organic olive oil from Etna, which even appears in her chocolate mousse.
Rosa Vanina joined the LAN environment three years ago when she started cooking meals for the firm’s cafeteria. This opportunity for a moment of shared pleasure, which is important to the two architects, is now available to the public, in a restaurant on the street level.
Pianoterra is the logical extension of the founding mission guiding their work: to nurture an in-depth examination of issues ranging far beyond the field of architecture, to break down traditional living spaces and merge disciplines. Offering a selection of Italian specialties, Pianoterra’s cuisine is based on the freshest of ingredients, with a single vegetarian menu on offer each day (a starter, main course and dessert), to which fish, the restaurant’s specialty, can be added. Dishes include artichoke caponata, fava beans, eggplant, asparagus and langoustine risotto, spaghetti with sea urchins, grilled octopus, lightly seared tuna belly served with a salad of herbs and datterini tomatoes or pasta with a mint, pine nut and raisin sauce.
The soul of the agency shines through, with a focus on micro-details, open space and scale: day/night lighting, comfortable seating and well-designed acoustics, embroidered tablecloths, an inspiring artistic environment, with books, photographs and architectural drawings by Alavaro Siza, Philippe Rahm, Lina Ghotmeh, Tham & Videgård and Cyrille Weiner, among others.
Wood and integrally colored indigo concrete, along with the zinc color of Paris rooftops, echo the two basic materials that already exist in the firm’s offices. The walls are covered with stucco made from white Paris stone, while the two tables and a counter of zebratta slate are reflected in a silvered mirror featuring a chalked list of natural wines.
The unique ambience of Pianoterra is derived from a decidedly “carpe diem” philosophy, combined with tangible and intangible ingredients: tenderness, smells, emotions—inviting guests to savor each and every moment and to nurture shared affinities.