OSTERIA FRANCESCANA, MODENA, ITALY
Massimo Bottura’s three Michelin-star Osteria
Francescana in Modena currently ranks number
two in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants listing. In
2016, shortly after celebrating its 20th anniversary
it was rather somberly declared by Michelin Guide
inspectors to have ‘consolidated its position as one of
Italy’s leading restaurants’.
The restaurant’s two main rooms accommodate 30
diners and there is also a private room. Botturro’s
dishes are served with art and artistry. The art is not
only on the plate but on the watercolour menus and
on the walls. Works on display include landscapes
by Olafur Eliasson and Maurizio Cattela’s Turisti, a
satirical sculpture including embalmed pigeons, first
realised at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
Doing justice to the cuisine, the location and works
such as Turisti was part of the challenge for lighting
designer Davide Groppi, whose efforts formed part of
an ongoing renovation that included a new entrance
produced by local artisans, with a ceiling of opaque
glass created by interior designer Catia Baccolini.
The ‘entertainment and living space’ and the dining
rooms have individual decor, lighting and art,
and thus each required its own lighting solution,
essentially a lighting scheme within a lighting
scheme. Specific solutions give new definition to the
environment and specific character of each room and
the transition areas that connect them.
Groppi used his fishing rod-like Sampei floor
luminaires with their long stems to light the main
rooms of the restaurant, taking as his reference model
the light in Caravaggio’s paintings and the way it
‘is always used in a theatrical way and characters seem
to be coming out from darkness’.
Small Mira LED wall fittings light some of the
pieces on show and the Nulla recessed ceiling
fitting illuminates the transition areas, the hall and
the corridor leading up to the main rooms of the
restaurant, and Turisti. Groppi describes this as
‘the denial of design. Just a tiny hole in the ceiling
represents the light without a source which again
refers to the light in Caravaggio’s paintings’.
Above right: the fishing rod-like Sampei lights the main rooms
Opposite: Nulla fittings dramatise Cattela’s Turisti sculpture