Welcome back to “Dine by Design,” an Untapped Cities column about the intersection of food and design, written by Lauren Bloomberg, food blogger for Zagat, Grubstreet and the Village Voice Fork in the Road.
The Meatpacking District, NYC location of Serafina (an Italian mini-chain with crispy crusted pizzas) is not Michela Martello’s first Serafina project. The artist has painted mural-style decor onto multiple locations including 77th Street and Long Island’s East Hampton outpost, but the style at this open, airy location is a little different from the rest. It’s inspired by street art.
A first for Ms. Martello, who usually finds inspiration in artists Giacometti and DaVinci and fuses it with New York sensibilities, the graffiti aspect is something she’d been exploring before taking on the hip arm of the Serafina family. When the owners of the Serafina Group tasked her with this latest project, she realized that this fun, funky take was the way to go and she set out to bridge the themes in the other restaurants with this modern take.
Not only are the walls here adorned with giant sign language messages (the hands are the artist’s husband’s) but so are the stairwells, the mirrors, even behind the bar. Everywhere you look there are hidden messages and tags.
One of the artist’s favorite elements (pictured above) combines a bountiful food theme. It’s a gorgeous, large, piece on the second floor of the multi-leveled restaurant that brings the whole thing back to the food. It is most reminiscent of the paintings at the other Serafina locations.
Though Michela Martello’s work can be found throughout the Serafina world, it’s not her only gig. She’s represented by Chelsea’s Tria Gallery, though it’s probably less expensive to enjoy it over a truffle strewn pizza.
Get in touch with the author @lrbloomberg.