On a recent trip to Durban, our Elle Deco editor and team had a ball touring Durban’s top eye-gladdening spaces. Stretta is one such place. Having opened late in 2010, Stretta has established a reputation for simple, fresh Italian – wood-fired pizza, pasta, vino and craft birre. Owner Emil Venter has set up and run of a few of Durban’s favourite Italian restaurants, including the original Scoozi and Sandonato’s.

The man behind the look is designer Kevin Boyd, an architect and graphic designer now specialising in graphic and interior design. Kevin believes in simple design that is free of clutter and that is appealing through the considered use of material, finish, texture and proportion. Design that endeavours to make the biggest impact, with the smallest footprint. [www.kevinboyd.co.za]

The restaurant space is long and thin, so Stretta got it’s name from the Italian translation for “narrow kitchen”. The logo and identity are the product of a cost-effective way of creating signage – using 50×50 black mosaic tile on the front of the bar to create a geometric and angular typeface. This geometric language and black & white palette carries through into the rest of the interior, menus, waitron apparel and so on. The space was stripped back, the dropped ceiling ripped out, a simple screed thrown, and black & white mosaic, full & cut tile used in abundance for texture and patterning. Seating varies from simple square custom-designed tables made of kiaat, plywood and melamine paired with old globe chairs, to the 12-seater ‘last supper’ table with kiaat frame, white tiled surface and metal bar stools. Folding chairs hang on a blank white wall, providing additional seating when needed. Artwork is minimal, with interesting wall texture and material finish always taking precedence. Lighting is varied but also very basic, mostly exposed bulbs hung on red garden extension cord. Big tick.

The industrial aesthetic of the main restaurant carries through but is upscaled with pegboard cladding on the walls, deep-buttoned booth seating and black mosaic tile on the floor.

Lighting over the bar mimics a chandelier with 35 pygmy bulbs in a formal grid layout. Wine bottles and glasses are housed in a grid of timber dowels projecting from the pegboard cladding on the wall behind the bar, with illuminated shelves above showcasing the wines and spirits. The solid kiaat unit below conceals a service hatch through to the main kitchen. In keeping with the upscaling, the metal bar stools around the bar are fitted with padding and are upholstered in the same black vinyl as the booth seating. The bar focusses on local craft beers and a selection of wines and premium spirits.

Stretta Cucina, Hillcrest Heritage Market




Posted by Inge van der Merwe & Jenny Mason