Project Team

design: Lazzarini Pickering Architects

Da Maria is a modern Italian restaurant in the Osteria style and is the brainchild of Australian Restaurateur, Maurice Terzini. With stunning interiors by Roman architects Lazzarini Pickering, Da Maria highlights the diversity of Italian food, wine, music, fashion, art and friends, with more than a little Capri in the heart of Seminyak.

Maurice Terzini and Adrian Reed of Motel Mexicola have joined together to open Da Maria Bali. Friends and collaborators over many years in Sydney and Bali, Maurice and Adrian have enjoyed many dinners in Maurice’s Sydney restaurants together and always aimed to bring the Italo Dining concept to Bali.

Maurice Terzini is one of the Australia’s most highly regarded creative entrepreneurs, best known for establishing several truly iconic Australian dining venues. Terzini has a gift for dreaming the big picture and executing it, often ahead of his time and breaking ground in ideas, style and locations.

Carl Pickering of Lazzarini Pickering Architects focused on a design very reminiscent of a 1960’s Amalfi Coast courtyard with a cooling, fresh blue and white palette and bold geometric styling.  The design pays homage to legendary Italian designer Giò Ponti, who created the iconic Sorrento hotel il Parco dei Principi in 1960 – the first “Design Hotel” – where he designed everything, including the magnificent graphic tiles. In Da Maria, Pickering wanted to create a cool, fresh space with air conditioning that also felt like a garden. Terzini is about a contemporary reinterpretation of classical Italian hospitality and the design team’s brief was to create for him a restaurant that represented that idea. Inspired by past images, Da Maria looks very third millennium and resembles no other restaurant in the world.

“Da Maria is our portrait of Maurice Terzini in Bali. ‘Bali Style’ wouldn’t have worked for the ideas Maurice had for this restaurant. He wanted to serve very simple, fresh uncomplicated Italian food in a tropical setting,” said Carl Pickering. “We needed to create a restaurant that reinforced this idea. The typical 60’s Italian courtyard restaurant seemed a perfect reference. We worked on this concept to create a venue that in the end doesn’t exactly look like a 60’s courtyard restaurant, but a modern interpretation. As in all of our projects, Da Maria has a classical quality to it that won’t date. It already feels like it has always been there, that it was the only logical thing to do on that site. A timeless classic.”

The basis behind the design is unpretentious simplicity with the clean European sensibility offset by typically verdant Balinese greenery of rubber trees, cacti and passionfruit vines spiraling down the walls from the Roman Pantheon-inspired skylights that can be either opened or closed. Three fountains are finished with geometric blue and white tiles and sit beneath locally crafted chandeliers that use simple festoon lighting reminiscent of 60’s Italian courtyard restaurants. Bali is full of these lights so Pickering and Terzini wanted to devise something different, deciding on a circular chandelier, in the spirit of the beautiful circular chandeliers they created at IDRB sixteen years ago. The fountain is an Italian and Neapolitan icon but also helps to establish a cool restaurant where the noise of water helps add a refreshing ambiance. There is a very simple fountain in the Santa Chiara cloister in Naples, which came to Pickering and Terzini’s minds when they were designing and with their vision they have recreated the essence of that wonderful part of Italy.

Every element of Da Maria was made in Bali and it was very rewarding for Terzini and Pickering to work with extremely talented local craftspeople, always delivering with a smile. The chairs and tables are an expression of the French fer forgé style with modifications made to prototypes and readily delivered, perfect and on time. Pickering’s presence in Bali before the opening was dedicated to fine tuning with a number of elements being ordered at the last minute and, extraordinarily, ready in a day.

The ceiling of Da Maria is the most incredible design element, with Pickering referring to it as “Bali’s Sistine Chapel”. Since the most visible element of the restaurant is the ceiling, the team decided to take some Gio Ponti inspired motifs and enlarge and manipulate them to create the very graphic ceiling that ties in the skylights, the divisions between the rooms and the long, slanted wall along the side. The super-graphic concept was then applied to the other surfaces: where the diagonal Pontiesque lines meet the walls they become stripes. A second graphic was then introduced that resembles the tiles on the bars and fountains. Every aspect has been painstakingly hand-painted by a group of incredible local artists.