Architecture practice Studio Wok has designed a bakery and wine bar called Pan in Milan‘s Città Studi district. The interior of this eatery, led by Japanese chefs Yoji Tokuyoshi and Alice Yamada, is a beautiful blend of Japanese and Milanese influences.
Studio Wok aimed to create a space that goes beyond stereotypes and instead offers a nuanced representation of Japanese culture. The design incorporates subtle references to Japan, focusing on quality materials and intricate details. The result is an interior that fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of both Japanese and Milanese aesthetics.
The main goal was to establish a strong connection with the neighborhood, and this was achieved through the design of the building. The use of large windows made of chestnut wood and galvanized sheets on the exterior gave the city a fresh and elegant facade. These windows not only allow natural light to flood the interior but also create a unique “threshold space” that blurs the line between the domestic and the urban.
Inside, the interior design is both neutral and inviting. It serves as a container for a few key elements that stand out, such as the bakery and bar counters. These two areas have their own distinct identities but seamlessly coexist within the space. A long wooden bench runs along the wall, connecting the two rooms of the venue and further enhancing the harmony between them.
The bread counter takes center stage as soon as you enter, with its green fiberglass grid panels. It is like a small architectural masterpiece that interacts with the natural light, creating a captivating visual experience. The color of the counter complements the subtle hues of the noren, while the draped ceiling adds a three-dimensional and ethereal touch to the space.
The wall and sliding system of the ante-bathroom serve as a backdrop, featuring a wooden frame with translucent panels made of pressed cellulose. This creates a monochromatic green box, from which the sink made of Moltrasio stone emerges as a monolithic element.
The bar area adopts a more understated aesthetic, with the black-stained chestnut wood counter and stainless steel inserts taking center stage. A cleft boulder made of natural stone brings balance to the material palette, creating an almost spiritual atmosphere. It celebrates the beauty of imperfection and adds significance to the ritual of filling water.
As in the chef’s cuisine proposal, in the architectural project, there are references to Japanese culture as well, non-literal and far from stereotypes. The intention was to add a layer for a deeper understanding, without it becoming too invasive, working on the concept of quality, both in materials and in detail.
Overall, the design of this venue successfully creates a close relationship with the neighborhood, while also providing a visually stunning and harmonious space for people to enjoy.