Pan Milano is multifaceted: part bakery, part restaurant, part wine bar, and part neighbourhood gathering place. Such a laundry list of offerings could easily make the 750-square-foot space feel either disjointed or claustrophobic, but Milan-based design firm Studio Wok has created subtly distinct night and day zones that both feel airy, welcoming, and contemporary.
A collaboration between chefs Yoji Tokuyoshi and Alice Yamada, Pan’s interiors “didn’t have to be strictly Japanese, but they wanted there to be slight references to Japanese culture, far from stereotypes,” Studio Wok co-founder Nicola Brenna explains. Each side is dominated by a large counter—a black-stained chestnut wood bar on one, a modern gridded bread counter on the other—and a long wood bench joins the two rooms, with three tabletops in each. “The two souls of the place are well defined but at the same time coexist in a fluid and natural way in the space,” Brenna says.
Throughout Pan, green accents permeate the sea of white and wood tones (dark on the bar side, light on the bakery’s). “Our intention was to create a very neutral and soft environment with warm natural materials,” Brenna says. “We found it interesting to add a touch of colour that would make the place more recognizable.”
The chosen hue, a pale pea green, is drawn from the standard colour of the industrial fibreglass grating that is found throughout Pan Milano. The designers fell in love with the gridded industrial material, giving it new life in the benches out front and the bread counter, which Brenna calls “the protagonist” of the space. The shade also references Japanese matcha tea. Ombre sheets of fabric, which fade from the signature green to white as they extend up, hang in rows from the ceiling, rippling gracefully like noren, the traditional Japanese fabric curtain dividers. A rough-finished Moltrasio stone boulder with a faucet above it serves as a water-filling station, while sweeping windows, framed in chestnut, invite the community in—at any time of day.