PZA Restaurant is a one-of-a-kind authentic Italian restaurant, unique to the rising progressive culinary scene north of Toronto. Known for their welcoming hospitality and traditional Italian menu, the PZA brand is unapologetically proud of its heritage, celebrated in the food, art and design of the space.
Winner – Urban Design & Architecture Design Awards 2019
Firm | II BY IV DESIGN
Category | Interior Design- Restaurant
Team | Dan Menchions and Keith Rushbrook
Country | Canada
The passionate first-time restaurant owners wanted their wholehearted Italian personalities to be reflected in the design. The concept was inspired by using food and pop culture to retell the story of traditional Italian values. The restaurant’s stylish urban ambiance is enriched by the use of raw materials and confident composition of colour, from cool blues and bold reds to strong dark finishes, accented by strategic lighting. An underlying foundation of the design was the importance of specifying the right products for an urban yet sensual feel, comparable to the restaurant’s attention to sourcing the best ingredients for its menu.
As all pizzas start out on wooden peels (paddles), the humble cooking apparatus became the starting point of the vision. The lifecycle of the pizza peel is revealed through the playful use of raw material, and the 112-piece custom-designed paddle installation ingeniously suspended from the ceiling. From symmetrically stacked firewood logs on black metal shelving, to ropes of paddles hung across the ceiling, the pizza peel narrative naturally weaves throughout the dining room, ending its journey passing through the Italy-imported brick oven and onto the tables. The result is an intricately crafted inviting atmosphere that shows off the hidden star of the restaurant, the pizza peel.
If pizza is the heart of PZA, then Sophia Loren is the shining soul. A symbol of Italian culture, the iconic Hollywood actress is beautifully depicted in the 25-feet-long feature mural by Anthony Ricciardi, international contemporary artist known for his vividly colourful masterpieces. Sophia, who is the personification of Italy’s adoration of food and culture, epitomizes the passion, dedication, and tenderness in the social act of coming together to enjoy food. Her impact on the design is felt in the charm of every “Sophia” detail, with pizzas named after her films, such as “Scandal in Sorrento”.
Turn your gaze up from any seat in the restaurant and you’ll find an unobstructed view of the Sophia mural and paddle installation. Lower your gaze, and you’ll find a dining surface with #PZARESTAURANT engraved on each tabletop. By layering earthy textures, rich warm shades and materials with tasteful Italian references, PZA maintains the signature relaxed but lively atmosphere that stays true to the brand.
PZA Restaurant is as much an ideology as it is a restaurant. It’s not about designing a space for eating, but about representing the love of food, culture, and life in a social setting. The essence of how food and life are meaningfully intertwined is what fuels the dynamism of the space. In the famous words of Mrs. Loren, “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” Everything you see in the design of this magnetic space is owed to the passion and devotion for creating remarkable lasting impressions.