“I will come, but it must be a serious dinner. I hate people who are not serious about meals.”
"This interview is more than 10 years old, but today I would answer exactly the same".
How was the interest in hospitality and its dynamics born and subsequently developed?
[…] A designer must consider three values as priorities: ethical, cultural, and economic. I think these three values are inseparably linked and necessary to each other, and should have the same importance in a society that wants to be defined as civil and evolved. In reality, the economic factor counts today, but this is suicide for the economy itself, because by despising culture and ethics, the most precious resources and the very meaning of what is done is lost.
This awareness, I must say conquered day after day, has also clarified to me why I have always felt this interest in the world of hospitality: hotels and restaurants are in fact entrepreneurial activities that live thanks to the cultural resources present in the area, and in turn they are the best opportunity to express and make known this cultural identity in the world, and when this virtuous circle is formed, the whole society benefits. Architecture and design can make a very important contribution to this balanced development, and in this lies their ethical value.
Architecture, restaurants, hospitality: how do these different aspects of your planning come together?
To date the restaurants have been snubbed by architects, as if it were a vulgar, minor sector. Now, suddenly, everyone is jumping on this plate. Is it hungry? In reality there is a lot of fried air around, a lot of smoke and a little roast beef, just to continue with this language.
For me, designing a restaurant has never been a minor job, it's the opposite. Through the experience of restaurant cuisine, you can take an exciting journey not only in the pleasure of taste, but in history, economy, human and natural environment, even in the religion of a people. As for architecture, its language is direct and universal and does not need translations, and for this reason cuisine has always been the first ambassador of a country's culture, and as I said before, culture is the most important resource precious to do real business. The real role of design is not to fantasize about concepts of totally abstruse premises from any real context, but to fully dive into this context, to give shape to the cultural identity that is the basis of a restaurant proposal and strength to its business value.
Regarding the idea of hospitality, one should learn from the Far East, where I worked for a long time. In China, as in Singapore, in Thailand as in Taiwan, the concept of hospitality is something that makes you feel really good, it is implicit in the way of preparing and presenting food, in small pieces ready to be placed in the mouth, or in use sticks, infinitely more refined and gentle than that of our forks and knives, much more "barbaric" tools, or in the very concept of food as health for the body, not only pleasure for the palate [...]