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Sophía Betancur references nearby church for Pizzeria Della Madonna


A neighbouring church informed the layout and design of this pizzeria in Mexico City, in which architect Sophía Betancur placed the oven in full view.

The Pizzeria Della Madonna is located next to the Parroquia de la Sagrada Familia, a church in the city’s Roma Norte neighbourhood built in 1910.

Sculptural pizza oven at Pizzeria Della Madonna
A halo-like stainless steel frame is one of the many religious references at Pizzeria Della Madonna

“The temple reflects a mixture of neo-Romanesque, neo-Gothic, and eclectic styles,” said Betancur, who is based in Mexico City. “The semicircular arches, Corinthian columns and wooden benches arranged throughout the nave are elements reinterpreted in the spatial proposal of the project.”

Inside the 98-square-metre, L-shaped space, the pizza oven is placed in the crossing — directly visible from the restaurant’s glass doors.

Distressed plaster walls, wooden bench and stainless steel cabinets
The distressed plaster walls of the restaurant are reminiscent of an old Italian church

Its sculptural rounded form is framed by a halo-like stainless steel structure suspended from the ceiling, providing a shelf on which hot pizzas can be placed.

Curved lines following the oven’s shape are traced across the floor, as well as on the ceiling in the form of track lighting that extends through the space.

Rows of wooden chairs laid out like a church nave
The dining area is laid out like a nave, with seating on either side of a central pathway

Throughout the restaurant, distressed plaster walls create the effect of eating in an old Italian church.

“The rustic finish on the walls reveals multiple layers of paint that reflect almost a century of history of the house, which in the past housed homes and different commercial and retail projects,” the architect said.

Kitchen area with a suspended shelf for pizza
The open kitchen features ceramic and terracotta tiles

The dining space at the front of the restaurant is laid out like a nave, with wooden bench seating and tables on each side and a path up the middle.

“The concept is complemented by historical, pictorial research and the symbology of the Virgin Mary and Marian architecture in Europe, from which forms, colors, materials and spatial qualities are taken up,” said Betancur.

“In this way, the proposal turns out to be a tribute to Mexican neo-colonial style and Italian religious architecture and iconography.”

Further seating is located in the perpendicular branch, or transcept, of the “L”, where a mirrored wall at the end makes the space appear larger.

Chairs and tables reflected in a mirrored wall
In a “transcept”, further seating is reflected in a mirrored wall

In the kitchen area, ceramic tiles cover the wall surfaces, while terracotta tiles of a similar size and shape the front of the service counter.

“The blend of the open kitchen and bar with the dining room translates into a balanced combination of practical and utilitarian materials typical of industrial kitchens and warm materials that provide elegance and comfort,” Betancur said.

Diners enjoying pizza at night
The restaurant is located in Mexico City’s lively Roma Norte neighbourhood

Serving one of the world’s most popular foods, pizza restaurants take many forms and styles across the globe, but many feature some reference to its home country.

In New York, Büro Koray Duman drew on Neopolitan culture for the interiors of Simo, while at Dough Pizza in Perth, Ohlo Studio used materials that evoke the “rustic sophistication” of Italy.

The photography is by Arturo Arrieta.

Project credits:

Architecture: Sofía Betancur
Design team: Cesar Ávila G y Sergio Bau.
Engineers: Leonel Nava
Visual identity: Faena Studio
Construction: Factor Eficiencia
Woodwork: Taller Nacional y Solana Estudio
Lighting: Martín Leal


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