Revitalisation of Udine’s historic Piccolo Bar


Camilla Bach,



Interior Design, Refurbishment,

Visual Display, Giorgio Di Bernardo’s creative design company, worked on a project in the designer’s own hometown, Udine, to bring new life to a venue offering typical Friulian conviviality. Piccolo Bar is a place for sampling the region’s famous wines and hams, paying tribute to the bar’s history and tradition.

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Revitalisation of Udine’s historic Piccolo Bar 
Palazzo D’Aronco is home to the city hall and one of the most beautiful and richly decorated historic buildings in Udine, Friuli. The first project by architect Raimondo D'Aronco dates back to 1888, but work did not begin until 1911, only to be interrupted by the First World War and concluded in 1925. Even more time was required for the interior finishes, in an example of art nouveau style that was not completed until the '30s. 
Under the arcades of this splendid building is Piccolo Bar, a popular spot in the historic city centre of Udine. After a few years of inactivity, the bar has finally opened again under the name IE Italian Excellence di Dall’Ava. The family is well-known as a producer of San Daniele prosciutto, and invented the first “prosciutteria”, a place for sampling this Friulian speciality served in a variety of ways, naturally paired with the region’s famous wines. In the Piccolo Bar, the new management serves wines accompanied by refined tapas and a selection of some of its best types of prosciutto.
The adjective “piccolo” is justified here, as the bar really is small, measuring only 28 square metres, but Visual Display’s interior design project makes the most of every single centimetre, emanating the casual elegance typical of the work of the studio directed by Giorgio Di Bernardo.
Passers-by outside the bar are invited to come in, as the outside and inside form a single whole. A vast choice of tapas is displayed in a glass case in the centre, turned toward the convivial tables under the arcades and, naturally, toward the people passing by.
The creative designers of Visual Display investigated the bar’s long history and opted for design solutions that would leave “traces of the past visible: removing all the unnecessary walls, the stratification of the interventions carried out over time and the original heights of the room were brought to light. The floor, an original terrazzo from the past, has also been restored and maintained.” Not merely a question of taste, but an intrinsically sustainable choice! 
The only colour used in the project is an aqua-green that covers all surfaces, without standing out as a new addition. The colour goes well with the braided wicker used to make the big ceiling lamps and a number of container elements on the bar counter. The designers explain that the surface of the bar counter was “ made by assembling wooden blocks obtained from a single exotic wood trunk, and is conceived as a puzzle to take full advantage of space and functionality.”
The large bottle rack that occupies the entire wall facing the counter is a raw iron tubular structure with leather and wood details displaying a refined selection of mainly regional wines, while also offering niches for on-site drinks.
In the Piccolo Bar, Visual Display confirms that it has earned its fame as a creative studio that puts its know-how in space branding and interior design to work for the retail, hospitality, exhibit and workspace sectors, all with great elegance and attention to detail, because, as the architects themselves say: “ The mission of Visual Display is not only to design beautiful interiors but places where people feel good and fully enjoy the space that surrounds them.”

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Visual Display
Location: Udine, Italy
Year: 2022
Images: Camilla Bach


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