switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps

switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps

caaa restaurant by pietro catalano recalls alpine snowcaps

 

Barcelona-based architecture firm External Reference has been commissioned to design CAAA, the second restaurant of acclaimed chef Pietro Catalano in Lucerne, Switzerland. Spanning 85 sqm, the space accommodates up to 16 diners and draws inspiration from the culinary traditions of the transalpine region and from the landscape itself, as seen with the dominantly white backdrop.

 

CAAA evokes a dialogue between gastronomy, design, and technology. The ceiling, constructed with custom 3D printed organic pieces, follows the flowing curves and shapes of the snow-capped mountains, enveloping visitors in a calming space, echoing the end of a snowfall, with a perfect white veil coating the land and warm sunlight softening the icy palette. ‘A luminous cavity, manages to reproduce the chromatic effects that characterize snowy landscapes, transforming the overall atmosphere of the restaurant, describes the team. 

switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps
all images © Filippo Bamberghi

 

 

a monochrome palette with cellulose as the main material

 

Using a monochromatic and neutral color combination not only creates a delicate atmosphere inside the CAAA restaurant by Pietro Catalano, but also allows for a fair coexistence between architectural elements and the chef’s creations. For this reason, External Reference (see more here) has opted for cellulose as the main material. With its characteristic bone color, cellulose represents a more sustainable biomaterial than thermosetting polymers, and is constantly produced by plants to build complex structures with extraordinary mechanical properties. Drawing inspiration from the teachings of nature, makers can now 3D print ‘wood’ and materials derived from it.

switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps
CAAA by Pietro Catalano is the second restaurant of the acclaimed chef in Lucerne

 

 

For Pietro Catalano’s CAAA restaurant, the studio ultimately chooses a material obtained from wood waste residues for the first time in architecture, combining natural ingredients like lignin and cellulose. Beyond its impressive mechanical and physical properties for high-quality 3D printing, the composite can store CO2, is completely biodegradable, and is recyclable after use.As for the furniture, every piece is custom-designed by External Reference. Taking inspiration once more from the serene tones of the mountainous climate and the essence of its forests, ash wood is selected for the chairs and tables, evoking the delicacy of tree branches. Meanwhile, stainless steel, glass, and marble flooring complement the restaurant’s bar.

switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps
a monochrome palette with custom-made furniture built with ash wood

 

 

external reference leverages AI and parametric design

 

Another prevalent component of the project is the use of A.I to produce parametric models of the 3D-printed ceiling structure. The studio begins by generating several images through Midjourney reflecting a space with a snowy roof, helping External Reference visualize what it had in mind and define the undulations and color scheme of the ceiling. ‘The process became a feedback loop where each iteration helped us communicate better with the computer until we achieved the result that seemed most interesting to us,’ the team notes. The next step involvs transferring the morphology of the ceiling into digital models.

switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps
External Reference designs a 3D printed ceiling made of cellulose and wood waste

 

 

3D printed modular ceiling inside switzerland’s CAAA restaurant

 

Once the visualization phase is set, the 3D modeling process undergoes multiple trials and morphological experiments involving a simulation software, before being modified for print. Like a puzzle, the architects divide the surface into 63 manageable modules, 80×80 cm each, facilitating their manufacture and subsequent assembly on-site. The 5 mm distance between modules allows air conditioning to pass through. In the final phase, each piece is printed in wood residue and assembled to form the distinctive ceiling of CAAA by Pietro Catalano, revealing enchantingly white and organic shapes. For the project execution, External Reference, as it has already done in its long journey in 3D printing, has relied on the expertise of LAMÁQUINA, a team of young engineers, researchers, and robotics experts. 

 

caaa-restaurant-designboom-full

switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps
evoking the snow-capped mountains of the alps

switzerland's CAAA restaurant greets diners under 3D printed ceiling evoking snowy alps
the architects divide the surface into 63 manageable modules

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project info:

 

name: CAAA by Pietro Catalano | @officialcatalano

location: Lucerne, Switzerland

architect: Carmelo Zappulla / External Reference@externalreference

project and construction manager: Francesco Sacconi

design team: Francesco Sacconi, Vianella Maestra, Agustina Raskin, Anton Koshelev,
Adrian Ionut Patrascu, Giulio Montefoschi

3D printing: LAMÁQUINA@lamaquina_3d

photographer: Filippo Bamberghi@filippobamberghi

area: 85 sqm

design date: June 2023

completion date: December 2023

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