Cel­e­brat­ing Amer­i­can diner cul­ture

David Rock­well with Sur­face mag­a­zine

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - The Cut Home -

RENOWNED NEW YORK ar­chi­tect David Rock­well is col­lab­o­rat­ing with the US de­sign mag­a­zine Sur­face on an in­stal­la­tion cel­e­brat­ing the iconic Amer­i­can diner. Lo­cated in a huge re­dun­dant vault be­low Mi­lano Cen­trale rail­way sta­tion, it is both a de­sign show­case and a func­tion­ing diner, of­fer­ing vis­i­tors a place to snack and re­lax.

Rock­well, whose back­ground in­cludes the­atri­cal set de­sign, has cham­pi­oned as­pects of Amer­i­can de­sign through graph­ics, fur­ni­ture, food and live per­for­mance, while ex­plor­ing the peren­nial ap­peal of din­ers: their abil­ity to bridge eras and cul­tures, and em­brace strangers within com­mu­ni­ties.

‘Din­ers are uniquely Amer­i­can and en­dur­ing in our cul­tural iconog­ra­phy,’ he says. ‘What’s great about them is their amaz­ing de­sign ideas, such as open coun­ters – the pre­cur­sor of the open kitchen in to­day’s restau­rants – and their in­no­va­tive use of ma­te­ri­als. Our goal is to cap­ture the restau­rants’ in­her­ently op­ti­mistic and demo­cratic spirit that draws peo­ple of all back­grounds to cre­ate a wel­com­ing, lively and fun en­vi­ron­ment.’

His own cre­ation in­cludes cus­tom fonts, neon sig­nage and mir­rored in­fin­ity walls, with four dis­tinct ar­eas. The Airstream-in­spired en­trance ush­ers vis­i­tors into a road­side cof­fee-and-pie shop, which leads through to a mono­chrome New York lun­cheonette serv­ing milk­shakes, cheesecake and other clas­sic diner fare, and on to a kitsch Midwest diner with candy-coloured booths and grilled-cheese sand­wiches. The fi­nal touch is a West Coast lounge, where desert oa­sis meets old-hol­ly­wood glam­our amid lush plants.

The Diner is at Via Fer­rante Aporti 9, 20125 Mi­lan. rock­well­group.com

Right David Rock­well’s diner in­stal­la­tion rein­ter­prets an Amer­i­can in­sti­tu­tion. Far right Rock­well. Be­low The Elan Ar­moire by Pinch

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