Cuisine to unmask the true self
VENICE, DECEMBER 16, 2016 – The Alajmo family – owners of Le Calandre and La Montecchia restaurants in Padua, Caffè Stern in Paris and Grancaffè & Ristorante Quadri in St. Mark’s Square, Venice – has teamed up with world-famous creator Philippe Starck to open AMO, an elegant Venetian restaurant located in the ground-floor atrium of the newly renovated T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS, Venice’s first luxury lifestyle department store.
The launch of AMO marks the birth of a very special type of restaurant experience. Modern Venetians and international visitors will assemble within the prestigious environment of the Fondaco to indulge their retail desires and enjoy the most exclusive products and fashions. At the heart of the experience lies AMO, with an elegance and philosophy so pure that it exists to reveal the honest soul of every man and woman. AMO is the purity within opulence.
Inside AMO, the simplicity of the ingredients, the honesty of the intention and the lightness of the cuisine all conspire to liberate the spirit, purify the soul and open the heart and AMO’s graphic identity is designed to tell this story. In an act of graphic subversion, AMO takes the iconic mask of Venice, famed for its mischief and ability to hide the intentions of a person, and turns it on its head. Specially created images depict a collection of characters – modern Venetians and the extended tribe who come to revel in the city's beauty – each a representation of the style, elegance and glamour we all aspire to today.
“This concept is represented graphically through AMO’s Venetian mask motif,” says Raffaele Alajmo, who oversaw the development of the new restaurant. “But our masks are the opposite of what one would expect: our masks strip away the labels and confines of outer style, revealing the true purity of the inner self.”
AMO is a revelatory experience. The honesty of the place is based on its elegance and authenticity, from the food and the people to the city of Venice itself, where AMO is deeply rooted. A quest for identity that inspired Starck to envision the restaurant as a metaphor of Venice, and its mysterious duality.
“AMO is an island of Venetian mystery in the middle of the world’s treasures. Each piece of furniture or interior design is a concentrate of the Venetian spirit, sofas inspired by gondolas, glass works directly stemming from the genius of Murano, mural paintings representing fantasies from the Venice carnival. All becomes the décor of a Venetian theater,” says Philippe Starck.
During the day, AMO is open, alive, touristic and luminous. It’s an island where to pause and indulge while enjoying a thrilling international shopping experience. The Murano glass artifacts orchestrate a joyful play with lights, with a unique chandelier especially created by Murano artist Aristide Najean, as the central piece of this poetic collection. Metal finishing pieces in the restaurant enhance the brightness and joyfulness of the place with polished inox, golden and copper touches.
At night when the shops close, AMO becomes this confidential, protected and mysterious place; a hidden venue where a curious and smart tribe meets. The dark marbles of the tables and the central bar become more intense. The lights are dimmed and dark leathers have the honors to adorn the custom-made sofas which unusually high backrests create private alcoves for intimate conversations, confidences and secrets with your loved ones.
AMO is the place where people can meet, eat, talk, work and love. It is a village square, a forum filled with treasures brought to Venice from all around the world. Unique pieces such as a chair in polished cast bronze by Tjep imported from Amsterdam, or the artistic chair by Boca de Lobo from Portugal. On the café walls, Ara Starck, artist and daughter of Philippe Starck, created unique mural paintings that structure and bring texture to the space. Artistic murals as an organic evocation of the city, its canals, its substance.
“The idea was to create a substance. A strong yet ethereal matter. A composition of different tones to find and define the volumes without using lines. A matter as a play of lights, with greys as only tool,” says Ara Starck.
“I wanted this matter to be an evocation of this body, this substance that envelops Venice. A matter that would appear as the foreshores of the Venetian lagoon appear. With its canals as a blood network that create sinuous convolutions growing by connecting to each other.”
The AMO coffee shop will serve guests continuously throughout the day, beginning with a breakfast of light and colorful pastries, some of which will not contain wheat flour. There will also be sweets made with extra-virgin olive oil rather than butter and a proper list of Italian coffee preparations.
Inside the coffee shop, visitors will find a pastry counter filled with single portion cakes and macaron, as well as savory options like gourmet tramezzini (Italian tea-sandwiches), mini-pizzas and a fried cichetto (Venetian-tapas) of the day.
At lunch and dinner menus will include a wider range of dishes including raw vegetables, fish and meat; three types of pizza (steamed, oven-baked and pan-fried) with some not-to-be-missed Alajmo classics like a savory potato cappuccino with Bolognese ragù.
“AMO will be sophisticatedly Venetian in nature with subtle notes of irony,” says chef Massimiliano Alajmo. “By placing a restaurant with colorful, healthy and cheerful food in the main atrium of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, we hope to bring visitors together and create a sense of conviviality. Our goal is to serve simple, yet tasty food inside a space of real beauty and culture.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the Alajmo family and Philippe Starck to bring visitors to T Fondaco dei Tedeschi a culinary experience that epitomizes the soul of Venice,” said Eleonore de Boysson, DFS Group’s Region President, Europe and Middle East. “AMO is the final piece in what has been an extraordinary revival of this historic center of culture and commerce, and we are confident that travelers from all across the world will love discovering the elegance and authenticity of AMO within the heart of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi.”