Across the way from the brand-new Ferrari lifestyle store at the company’s headquarters in Maranello, Italy, is another part of the automobile marque’s larger diversification project: the reinvention of Cavallino restaurant.

Key features 

The establishment has been a key part of the brand’s on-site legacy since 1942, when it served as the company canteen before officially becoming Ristorante Cavallino in 1950. At the end of 2019, Ferrari decided to invest in its future by bringing together famed Italian Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura to head the kitchen and India Mahdavi for the interior design of the recently reopened restaurant. 

Bottura’s menu will approach Italian tradition through a contemporary rather than nostalgic lens, a strategy shared by Mahdavi. For the architect and designer, respecting Ferrari’s heritage while updating the idea of the classic Italian trattoria led to the pixelation of the car brand’s iconic logo. The abstracted Prancing Horse appears on surfaces and materials throughout the space, from the perforated metal of the entrance gate to mosaic tiles, wallpaper and net curtains, the latter a staple in any trattoria. Above a modernized spin on bench seating, Ferrari memorabilia hangs on the walls, giving off the vibe of a family restaurant whose ‘children’ just happen to be cars. 

Frame’s take 

With everything about this venture screaming ‘Italian!’, it’s a surprise to see Iranian-French architect and designer India Mahdavi brought in to update one of the nation’s classic typologies. It’s a hint that Ferrari is serious about doing things differently, further supported by its move into fashion retail. When you consider Mahdavi’s often daring use of colour and eclectic approach, the collaboration certainly makes sense. But something about the result feels watered down when compared with other bold and bright statements in her spatial portfolio. The biggest splash of ‘Ferrari red’, for example, is on the façade, not in the interior.