Perched at the heart of Santa Maria Novella train station, VyTA Santa Margherita has revived Florence’s local architecture in a city that is celebrated for many Renaissance sensations.
Designed by Daniela Colli, of COLLIDANIELARCHITETTO, the new gourmet espresso bar and bakery is housed in a former first-class waiting room, or sala di attesa, which dates back to the 1930s – a masterpiece of rationalist Italian architecture, realised by Giovanni Michelucci.
Every inch of the 76 sq m space has been carefully designed to respect the history of the listed building by carefully integrating VyTA into the protected structure, using antique materials yet contrasting these with contemporary design features that embody the identity of the brand. The result is one of sophisticated minimalism and elegance. Sleek, mirrored surfaces nullify the volumes of counter and workspace, while pink copper, glass and marble interface with existing historic features such as the boiserie, which portrays vintage photography of Italy and art monuments, from Piazza San Pietro in Rome to Torre Pendente in Pisa.
The food of course, is undoubtedly appetising. All homemade, the menu is a visual feast of buttery croissants, homemade sandwiches and creamy cakes, placed in a pink copper, overturned 'L' bar, emphasised by minimal 'Pentagon Pendant' lighting by AfroditiKrassa suspended over the central bakery counter. The feel is opulent yet understated with clean lines, 'Miunn' stools by LaPalma and a rich colour palette with hints of green, muted pinks and a darker, masculine Verde Alpi marble floor. While the counter serves as a partition it also enables the space to flow, breathing life into a timeless place far removed from the constant bustle of travellers. This, along with its historic additions, offers a decadent touch to those merely passing through; an opportunity to turn back the clock for at least a moment, as old and new coexist in harmony.