Dezeen Magazine

Ste Marie's Vancouver restaurant interior is based on a fictional muse

Materials and furniture used throughout this Vancouver restaurant were influenced by traditional Italian osterias and a fictitious patriarchal figure named Savio Volpe (+ slideshow).


Local design studio Ste Marie owns the Savio Volpe restaurant, located off the Kingsway road in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, and took up the task of creating its interior.


Along with their dreamt-up character – who also became also became the restaurant's namesake – the studio looked to the works of iconic Italian designers Carlo Mollino, Bruno Munari and Enzo Mari for inspiration.


They were keen to replicate the simple and "earthy" feel of a traditional osteria – a typically simple or inexpensive restaurant found in Italy.

"The restaurant is the intersection of elemental and etherial, it's gritty and pretty so to speak," said Ste Maria's Craig Stanghetta. "We liked the the idea of the classic osterias, that and a fictional muse who we thought of as a loving patriarch that was curious, resourceful and caring."


"We imagined he would be as passionate about his vegetable garden as he would be about art, culture and design," added Stanghetta.


The studio opted to decorate the space using simple earthy materials, and covered the restaurant floor in red and brown-toned quarry tiles.


Pleated oak panelling covers the walls, and is paired with grey-coloured marble to create the central bar-cum-dining table.


Towards the back of the restaurant, a bespoke dowel-style shelving surrounds the open kitchen and frames the wood fire grill and rotisserie whilst displaying a collection of Italian groceries, homemade preserves and wine collection.


"We wanted the material to have strong and warm quality that would allow us push the degree of simplicity and modernity while maintaining a tether to the farmhouse or tavern ideology at the root of the restaurant concept," said Stanghetta.


"The upholstery on the other hand shows a quality of bravado and audacity to stand in contrast – sort of like the way a kerchief, a patterned tie or a pair of playful socks stands apart from an understated suit," he added.


All custom woodwork and furniture throughout the space was created in conjunction with local company Lock & Mortice.


A complex metal lighting system designed by Ste Marie hangs above the central dining bar. The wall lighting is intended to evoke a church-like feeling, and is fixed on top of paintings by an Italian artist named Edoardo De Falchi.


All the other artwork in the restaurant was either created by Ste Marie, or found in thrift and antique shops over a number of years.

Nearby restaurants include a pan-Asian eatery and a currywurst restaurant with peghole walls – both by Canadian studio Scott & Scott.