A neglected 20th-century cinema has been carefully turned into an Italian restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden. Architecture firm Millimeter Arkitekter have used the “grand and familiar character” such as its painted walls, old-fashioned architecture and velvet furnishing to create an engaging space that toes the line of modern nostalgia.
The cinema’s historical grandeur is complemented by two prominent olive trees located in the middle of the restaurant which adds a flash of naturalism to the otherwise consciously curated design.
The restaurant, L’Avventura, was once the home of happy laughter and tear-stained sadness as it played host to stories of some of Hollywood’s greatest films. Designed by Swedish architect Björn Hedvall in 1927, the building sits at a bustling intersection in the city. It means the spot will soon be crowded when developer Stureplansgruppen opens two further restaurants.
As such, the converted building’s idiosyncrasy is gleefully welcomed. It’s something the restaurant’s designers were keen to maintain but modernise, “We tried to create a new interior with its own design language that could stand for itself, and at the same time speak well with the existing interior,” Tina Marin, interior architect at Millimeter Arkitekter, told Dezeen.
It’s an ethos that means that the building’s stucco ceilings have been preserved and adorned with classical murals by Swedish artist, Nils Asplund. The ornately painted walls are focal moments of every visit and displayed as such. All the while, the new red velvet booths that were specially crafted to envelop the tables, are a hark back to the building’s earliest vocation.
With an intricate eye for detail running throughout the design, it is in the space left unpreened that feels the most special. At the centre of the restaurant’s welcoming dining room sits two incredibly large Italian olive trees.
“We made many spectacular sketch proposals, but in the end everyone that worked on this project felt that two huge olive trees would give the right feeling, and would work well with the Italian concept,” Marin explained. The trees are there to not only take the minds of the restaurant’s patrons to the rolling valleys of Tuscany and beyond but to provide moments of natural connection with their food and the restaurant’s culinary heritage.
Smaller saplings also stand alongside the dining booths that line the periphery of the room allowing for intimacy. It’s a sentiment that is continued in the restaurant’s rich colour palette as classic elegance meets modern thinking.
Alongside the aforementioned showstopping velvet chairs, steeped in deep red, the restaurant welcomes forest green tiles to complete their open kitchen and once again offer glimpses of nature. Meanwhile, two tall glass shelving units have been crafted for L’Avventura’s two bar areas, ensuring visitors can still get a glimpse of the beautifully adorned walls.
Millimeter Arkitekter have excelled in their ability to not only craft a functional and fruitful space—the open kitchen is placed where the cinema’s screen once was—but have managed to both pay homage to the past and welcome the future all in one grand and inviting space; L’Avventura.
Have a glimpse inside with imagery courtesy of photographer Andy Liffner.
All images provided to Far Out Magazine via Stockholm based photographer Andy Liffner. See more of his work, here.