Johannesburg / Rosebank

Fugazzi is the result of a productive collaboration between a team of incredibly creative people to create a truly unique restaurant space. Inspired by old New York Italian dining, Fugazzi is the latest offering from Colada Club, the team behind Proud Mary and MamaSamba. It is all about family values, authentic food, warmth and a hustle-and-bustle atmosphere.

The design is fun, lively and tongue-in-cheek. Burgundy leather seating in the booths, dark wood panelling and custom-made mid-century modern furniture evoke the feel of old Italian New York diners. A fun twist is added with design details and décor that offer a contemporary take on 70s and 80s pop culture – think Madonna, Magnum PI and old Wrangler jeans advertisements.

The entire composition is anchored by a quirky colour palette incorporating black, cream, burgundy, ice-cream pink and mint green. It is successfully brought together with 64 carefully curated artworks and décor pieces.

A key feature is the custom-created polished terrazzo floor, incorporating the scheme colours in a striped design and featuring the word ‘Fugazzi’ as inlay at the entrance. The 1970s style bar is also a show-stopper – immediately eye-catching with its ornate front in black, cream and brass, and its high back-bar with little drawer and shelving details. The bar chairs were custom-designed, also in black and cream, with a Fugazzi logo cut-out across the back of each. A graffiti artist created a ceiling ‘mural’ which adds another element of fun.

The space was unusually small, which meant that all the design elements had to offer something special, whilst contributing to the overall composition. Most of the furniture was custom-designed and built to create exactly the right look and feel, and to work with the colour palette.

The internal space successfully seats 100 people at tables, dining booths and the bar counter, with open views across it right into the kitchen. The patio seats a further 30 people. Restaurant patrons are able to see the cooking take place, with the chefs’ pride in the process of creating good food evident for all to see. The bright red pizza oven makes for a visual accent in the kitchen area. The lighting is soft and dimmable, ensuring that the right mood can always be created.