White Monkey Pizza Lab & Bar by Ippolito Fleitz Group: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Casual Dining
How do you reinvent something as basic as a pizzeria? For starters, try a new utensil. Diners here are handed giant scissors for snipping through long rectangular pizzas with toppings ranging from the classic to the nontraditional. Nutella, anyone?
Next, introduce eye-catching furnishings and graphics. That’s where Interior Design Hall of Fame members Peter Ippolito and Gunter Fleitz enter the picture. Referencing the White Monkey in the establishment’s name, they employed cheeky simian shapes throughout the 3,300 square feet. (One monkey presents bananas on a platter.) Monkey business aside, references to pizza’s native Italy dominate. Red, pink, and earthy tones recall sunny Tuscany; ceramic tile nods to the flooring in classic trattorias; and splashy, slightly surreal murals combine images of Renaissance art with dolce vita photography. “In a big space, an assertive collage is a conversation-starter,” Ippolito notes. Fleitz adds, “Everything is totally familiar but, at the same time, not at all.”
The 130 seats are configured to cater to families, solo diners, and everyone in between, thanks to a mix of banquettes, freestanding two-tops, and spots at the bar, a sort of E shape in glossy black. Bar patrons can perch on the gray leather-covered seats of stools while sipping cocktails. They include three monkey-themed variations.
Project Team: Arsen Aliverdiiev; Kim Angenendt; Lynn Freyschmidt; Tilla Goldberg; You Seok Kirschenmann; Axel Knapp; Andrea Koppenborg; Kerem Özerler; Shenhui Qiu; Mario Rodriguez; Charlotte Scheben; Kirsten Wagenbrenner-Ziegler.