DesignTech for Future is a programmatic document promoted by the MIND Milano Innovation District DesignTech Hub. Italian and international architects and architectural and design studios, companies and professionals in areas ranging from catering to schools and healthcare divided into 13 work groups addressing specific themes drafted their reflections and guidelines in the conviction that design combined with technological innovation has an essential role to play as businesses start up again following the covid-19 emergency, “to improve our everyday lives and relaunch the economy in the medium to long term”, as the introduction states. This important document promotes awareness not only of the limitations but of the opportunities arising from the resumption of business following the lockdown. Architect Maurizio Lai coordinated a work group focusing on the restaurant industry in partnership with Paolo Barichella, who took care of the Food Lifestyle, for the white paper.
“Nothing will be the same as before” as a result of the events of recent months, but there will also be some important new opportunities. The food industry was one of the first to address the “post-lockdown” world, getting off to a “new start” with new scenarios, new limitations and regulatory systems, identifying and introducing new forms of consumption. One experience many people have been enjoying over the past few weeks is take-out food, and AJI offers a concrete example: a quality Japanese and Asian food delivery and take-away service set up by Claudio Liu. Maurizio Lai created a new interior design for the important AJI brand after working on IYO AALTO restaurant in Milan’s Porta Nuova district.
In the new interior designed in Via Piero della Francesca in Milan, architect Maurizio Lai addresses the theme of speed and waiting, aiming to convey to users the image of a product of superior quality produced in a technologically advanced kitchen where the utmost care is taken with every little detail. The architect works on a number of different levels and elements to represent the value of the brand for its users, particularly “environment, distances, comfort and experience”, identified as the elements “crucial to the definition of new restaurant and food spaces”. For example, Maurizio Lai assigns great importance to waiting in the interior design of AJI, using materials and surfaces to create an emotional experience for customers as they watch their food being prepared. The ceiling looks like a three-dimensional canvas with a geometric pattern created by lights and reflections, from which hanging light fixtures are suspended. The custom-designed furnishings, the high-tech kitchen with its semi-gloss metal surfaces, the monolithic white Calacatta marble counter, and the satiny surfaces of walls covered with porcelain reflect the light, skilfully used by architect Maurizio Lai to expand the available space.
01, 12 - 16: Images courtesy of AJI
02-11: Images courtesy of Lai Studio - Maurizio Lai Architects photo by Matteo Guidetti
Location: via Piero della Francesca, Milan - Italy
Client: Claudio Liu
Design: Lai Studio - Maurizio Lai Architects
Project Design and Direction: Arch. Maurizio Lai
Photos: Matteo Guidetti