Steps away from the historic piazza della signoria in florence, architecture studio DEFERRARI+MODESTI has re-designed the ‘brac’ bookstore and café as a serene space to eat, drink, read and retreat from the city center. hidden among a plethora of courtyards, the 75 square meter eatery and library offers a reinterpretation of an archetypal ‘literary café’, comprising a contemporary art bookstore, a lounge, and a kitchen serving vegetarian and vegan dishes.
The heart of the interior intervention is a 65 square meter courtyard, which visibly links the two main rooms — the restaurant in the back, and the art bookstore nearer to the main entrance. this semi-outdoor space is characterized by its verticality and color, and has been conceived to limit the transmission of noise to the surrounding residences.
Here, a temporary installation created alongside architects valentina muscedra and sergio leone features a vibrant display of more than 5,000 fabric strips that hang from a modular structure made from steel cables overhead. organized in of palette of nine different hues, the textiles envelop visitors in a warm and whimsical space. a granulated pavement made of gray bardiglio marble forms a path marked by sandstone slabs, recalling the texture of the bamboo flooring used throughout the interior.
Visitors to ‘brac‘ enter first through a room clad with wooden paneling that surrounds part of the shop’s book collection. in the second space, informal sofa seats host presentations, readings and photography exhibitions. despite their modest size, the spaces are conceived as functional and comfortable places. the existing bookshelves have been replaced with durmast wood and offer greater visibility to the collection of publications. wood table tops, resting on old iron bases of garden tables, juxtapose the monochromatic off-white walls. the old ceramic tile floor, that used to spread across both rooms, has been replaced with a bamboo parquet flooring. meanwhile, a newly-renovated shop window allows ‘brac’ owner melisa to present the latest books and photographic acquisitions on a series of interchangeable mobile elements.