Case study: Polished aluminium cone façade, Roberto Cavalli Caffé, The Avenues, Kuwait
Roberto Cavalli is an Italian fashion designer, born 15th November 1940 in Florence, Italy.
Cavalli is renowned for his “wild prints” and daring use of pattern and colour. His fashion house sells luxurious clothing, perfume and leather goods and is responsible for the fashion of “weathered” jeans.
The Avenues, Kuwait
The design for The Avenues was inspired by the natural rock formations, sand and sky found in Kuwait. The glazed arched canopy roof gives the feeling of an outdoor space which is emphasised by The Grand Avenue being designed to look and feel like a Boulevard with the living palms lining the street. The walkways are paved with stone from around the world – China, Italy, Spain and Turkey – which underpins the international theme. The Avenues incorporates special areas such as SoKu which is an acronym for South of Kuwait which has been created to provide an edgy, urban atmosphere which appeals to the youthful shoppers.
The Souk is a facsimile of the traditional souk,or market, areas complete with narrow streets and a deliberate maze-like layout.
The Cavalli Caffé is a significant presence within The Avenues. The Cavalli chain in the Middle East is operated by Pragma Group who are based in the Lebanon. The café, serving Italian food, accommodates 80 customers with both inside and outdoor seating.
The design of the Cavalli Caffé
What is a unexpected is the design of the exterior of the caffé which bears no resemblance to any other Cavalli stores or cafés. Double-ended polished stainless steel cones create elongated diamond footprints against the glass There are twelve or thirteen cones wide on the façade and thirteen or fourteen deep with some being left unmounted which reveals the diamond shaped glazed aperture behind. There are LED purple lighting strips running along one edge of the aluminium diamonds which, when illuminated, form striking diagonal lines of purple light. The effect is to create a mesmerising and unforgettable façade.
The cones were handmade from 2mm 316 grade stainless steel in the Double Stone Steel factory. Fabrication included the forming, welding and polishing. Each section was hand- polished to a Super 8 finish.
Stainless steel was chosen as it was found to be the best mirror effect that was required for Roberto Cavalli’s design concept. Originally the material was to be GRP (Glass-Reinforced Plastic) with a chromed finish. This method of fabrication had to be abandoned as there were no tanks large enough in which to chrome the sections.
Luca Racioppo, architect, was the project manager for Roberto Cavalli on this project. We asked Luca some questions on how the design developed for the caffé
Q: How involved was Roberto Cavalli in the design concept for the caffé?
Luca says “My designs were shared with Roberto throughout the design process and all ideas were discussed with him. Often this was at his home in Milan and we talked of many possibilities and tested out several ideas. Roberto is keen for us to see and share his vision, he has innovative and remarkable ideas and provides a lot of inspiration for the design development.
Q: How was the design concept developed for the interior and exterior of the caffé?
“Roberto wanted to create a totally relaxing atmosphere that was dedicated to the wellbeing of the customers. We used mirrors, animal-print sofas and soft shapes to create an environment that was in keeping with the Cavalli brand. Roberto wanted his customers to feel completely immersed in his signature “Cavalli style” which is so unique to him.”
Q: What connection do you feel there is between the design and feel of the Roberto Cavalli products and the design of the caffé? I see there are some wild animal design for the upholstery and wondered where else the Roberto Cavalli “touch” can be seen.
Yes, the connection is thoroughly explored between Roberto’s design and the interior of the caffé. The use of the soft upholstery, gold medallion detailing and wild zebra patterns are very distinctive and in keeping with Roberto’s collections. Roberto’s designs are unique and very much his own and this consistency means that our customers feel very much at home and familiar with us.”
Q: Tell us how you came up with the unique façade of the caffé?
“We wanted to play with the effects of light and the way that light falls on a cone- shape is particularly variable and interesting.
We came up with the cone design having thought about the power of wind and the shapes it can create. Roberto was drawn to the diamond geometry and this became the template for the façade. Roberto also loves the effect of mirror and reflection, as shown in the caffé interior. He says that reflection transforms any space. By adding a third dimension to the diamond pattern, we arrived at a cone shape which was the perfect solution for what we wanted to achieve.
The extreme-quality of the design, for us, is to demonstrate to our customers how dedicated we are to their comfort and creating an amazing environment for them with great design and, of course, excellent service.”