La Cozza - Ristorante Pizzeria

Salento, between the sea and the land

At Marina di Salve (LE) on southern Italy's Ionian coast, a renovated restaurant has opted for functional materials, plays of colour and sophisticated details in harmony with the splendid natural setting
Silvia Airoldi
Rocco De Lentinis
AB Stilcasa
Year of completion

With only the fine sandy beach separating it from the sea, the La Cozza restaurant stands on the marina of Posto Vecchio, along the Ionian coast of Salento, just beyond the Cape of Santa Maria di Leuca. The name of the restaurant, Italian for «mussels», dates back to the sixties when the site hosted a stilt construction where seafood was sold. The current building, which extends along the state-owned shore and a portion of privately-owned land, is the result of a redevelopment and restyling project carried out by Rocco De Lentinis. When drawing up his renovation project for the obsolete structures of the old restaurant which had long fallen into disrepair, the architect returned to a previous proposal that had never been carried through, and made substantial alterations based on criteria of functionality and aesthetic consistency. The new project, which maintains only the same volumes and surface areas, redefines the elevation, optimises the distribution of the interior and exterior spaces and incorporates large openings that improve the relationship with the outside. The restaurant extends over a covered surface area of 311 m2, including the dining room, kitchen, bar and bathrooms, and an outdoor area of 471 m2 consisting of an upper terrace, a bioclimatic pergola and a small garden. As De Lentinis explained, the key points of the design are the meticulous choice of materials, attention to detail and the search for a result that will fit harmoniously into the context. The marine environment calls for specific technical characteristics in terms of corrosion resistance and durability, which however must be combined with aesthetic and functional qualities. This explains the original combinations and special solutions chosen for the restaurant, all designed «down to the last centimetre» by the Apulian architect. Cor-Ten and stainless steel is used alongside wood, local stone and ceramic, as well as Corian and glass in keeping with well-defined principles. The entire structure including the roof, with its custom-made hangers, is built from laminated bleached spruce to meet the requirement imposed by the state-owned area that the construction must be removable, while composite wood is used for the floor of the upper terrace and the enclosing wall on the side facing onto the road. The Cementine20 porcelain tiles from Fioranese, made from up to 40% recycled materials using eco-friendly production technologies, have a decorative, functional and architectural role. Used for both the interior walls (kitchen and bathrooms) and the exterior façade, the tiles designed by Silvia Stanzani in 9 patterns are used here in various installation layouts, reproducing the vintage atmosphere of cement paste tiles from the early twentieth century, with the further advantage of guaranteed practicality and strength. While the ceramic tiles define the visual continuity between the interior and exterior of the volume housing the kitchen, at the same time it has a texture that blends in perfectly with the light blue of the nearby Ionian sea and with the neutral colours of the other surfaces. Interesting accents are provided by the Cor-Ten steel used for the external spiral staircase leading to the terrace, for the door and window frames and the large hydraulically-actuated dining room windows, and for many of the finishings. The project focused on every space in the restaurant, especially the bathrooms, which are equipped with sanitary fittings, taps and accessories with an essential, elegant design and customised solutions. «The care devoted to the bathrooms reflects the attention afforded to all the rooms and therefore the project as a whole,» says De Lentinis.

Fioranese, Cementine 20
porcelain stoneware
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0.05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): Classe GLA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 58.7 N/nm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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