TWO TWENTYTWO 2006

One of our first projects in Valletta, and the first collaboration with the late Desmond Vella, was a site like no other. An incomplete tunnel in a C17th bastion wall – abutting Valletta’s ring road with views of the Carmelite Basilica on one side and Fort Manoel on the other – was to house the city’s trendiest bar & eatery where music, fashion & contemporary cuisine would converge.

A reversible intervention at its outset, we imagined a magic black box which, like some sort of kiosk, could be plugged into the ancient fortifications and inaugurate their regeneration. Its sloping wall, imitating the angle of the bastions, maximises square metres on both ground and first floor; while preserving the original volume of the vault.

So we built a steel-timber structure containing all the lighting, power, sound, running water, cooling, air extraction, food and drinks; its well-hidden infrastructure ridding the bastion walls of all visible interventions. The box separated the dining (downstairs) from the lounging (upstairs), and slides outside to a voyeuristic terrace looking out over the scene and onto the harbour. At its inner end, the dark and sensuous toilets were fitted with a custom-made glass curtain and additional hidden conveniences.

The outdoor concrete terrace, split into two by an illuminated waterfall, sunk gently like an amphitheatre around the raw, fortified landscape. Reflecting the interior plan, the waterfall separated the dining from the lounge areas.

 

 

 

 

 

The shape of the stark box became the logo of the venue, the address of the site became its name. After eleven months awaiting various permits and eleven weeks of intense site works, the box’s tilted door opened and welcomed its first guests on December 2006.

It was an instant hit, with hundreds of patrons crowding its terraces at the various events which Desmond spearheaded – fashion shows, parties, launches & dinners – Valletta for the first time in years started once again attracting the young & trendy crowd.

The project was awarded the Din l-Art Helwa prize for best rehabilitation and the Fondazione Barbara Cappochin architectral prize for Best International Work in 2007, and published on various international books & magazines to the likes of Wallpaper, FRAME & Monocle.

Sadly, Desmond passed away a couple of years later – a day before his 35th birthday – and the venue soon fell into the hands of others, and Two TwentyTwo ceased to exist.

Images by David Pisani.

 

 

TWO TWENTYTWO 2006

One of our first projects in Valletta, and the first collaboration with the late Desmond Vella, was a site like no other. An incomplete tunnel in a C17th bastion wall – abutting Valletta’s ring road with views of the Carmelite Basilica on one side and Fort Manoel on the other – was to house the city’s trendiest bar & eatery where music, fashion & contemporary cuisine would converge.

A reversible intervention at its outset, we imagined a magic black box which, like some sort of kiosk, could be plugged into the ancient fortifications and inaugurate their regeneration. Its sloping wall, imitating the angle of the bastions, maximises square metres on both ground and first floor; while preserving the original volume of the vault.

So we built a steel-timber structure containing all the lighting, power, sound, running water, cooling, air extraction, food and drinks; its well-hidden infrastructure ridding the bastion walls of all visible interventions. The box separated the dining (downstairs) from the lounging (upstairs), and slides outside to a voyeuristic terrace looking out over the scene and onto the harbour. At its inner end, the dark and sensuous toilets were fitted with a custom-made glass curtain and additional hidden conveniences.

The outdoor concrete terrace, split into two by an illuminated waterfall, sunk gently like an amphitheatre around the raw, fortified landscape. Reflecting the interior plan, the waterfall separated the dining from the lounge areas.

The shape of the stark box became the logo of the venue, the address of the site became its name. After eleven months awaiting various permits and eleven weeks of intense site works, the box’s tilted door opened and welcomed its first guests on December 2006.

It was an instant hit, with hundreds of patrons crowding its terraces at the various events which Desmond spearheaded – fashion shows, parties, launches & dinners – Valletta for the first time in years started once again attracting the young & trendy crowd.

The project was awarded the Din l-Art Helwa prize for best rehabilitation and the Fondazione Barbara Cappochin architectural prize for Best International Work in 2007, and published on various international books & magazines to the likes of Wallpaper, FRAME & Monocle.

Sadly, Desmond passed away a couple of years later – a day before his 35th birthday – and the venue soon fell into the hands of others, and Two TwentyTwo ceased to exist.

Project Team: Chris Briffa, Darren Cortis, Jennifer Barth, Lawrence Briffa, Aldo Caruana.

Images by David Pisani.