Gustoso sits in a building flanking an important urban junction in the city. The space is entered at the corner of the block leading into a tall space with a bar at the entrance and the pizza oven glowing at the other end.
The challenge in designing the restaurant was creating meaningful spaces from an existing set of rooms of different sizes. Instead of trying to unify the spaces, we decided to use the multiplicity as a design and organization idea. The restaurant is planned as a narrative comprising of a number of experiences layered one after the other. The textures, materials tie these together to give a coherent experience. The multiple spaces give the user a choice from amongst many dining experiences within the same restaurant.
The highlight of this restaurant is the courtyard at the very end with a private dining space used for parties and family functions. This courtyard space was carefully created after cleaning up the original space of many small interventions done over the last 30 years. A highlight feature of this courtyard is the huge water tank cleverly screened using steel members which makes a standing counter for parties. The courtyard comes as a surprise when one comes upon it from the hustle and noise outside; a rare jewel in the city which has few places which can give an outdoor dining experience. The light in the courtyard changes over the seasons and through the day. The tree canopy over the court creates a myriad of shadows shading the court through the day and then settles into a gentle glow in the evening.
The sense of discovery at encountering one space after another, the sensorial experience of textures and materials and the verdant courtyard all come together to create a world-within-a-world quality of the restaurant.