Oscar-Winning Art Director Dante Ferretti Designs Second Italian Restaurant

The legendary art director creates a bold nouveau-Pompeian design, complete with frescoes and Roman statues, at New York's Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto Il.

Oscar-winning production designer and art director Dante Ferretti’s design skills can be admired at the recently opened Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto Il Ristorante on Manhattan’s Upper East Side known for dishes like its pork and beef ravioli and the Berkshire pork chop with shallots and rosemary. The native Italian -- who's been nominated for nine Academy Awards and won three (for Hugo, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and The Aviator) -- says his inspiration for the project dates back more than 40 years.

“The idea came to me remembering a movie that I had done as an assistant art director many years ago, The Satyricon by Federico Fellini," he says. "A scene that has stayed with me forever was the home of an aristocrat, Trimalchio, the Roman who spent his life in the triclinium [dining room] and the only important thing was to eat. At this point I was reminded of the Roman and Pompeian and this was the inspiration for decorating the restaurant with colorful frescoes and statues of Italian architecture and a historic atmosphere.”

Ferretti considers Rome his home of the heart and reckons fettuccine with truffles is his favorite dish (though he confesses he's constantly dieting). Ferrretti, who currently resides in South Beach, Miami, will next showcase his production design talent in the October 2013 release of The Seventh Son, an adventure film starring Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes.

Having never met Ferretti, the family-run ownership (who recognized and admired his work) first contacted him to design the restaurant's initial location, on the Upper West Side, in 2008. The interior of the original was conceived to look like a 1900s-era ship carrying products from Italy to America. The second, 3,600-square-foot restaurant across Central Park on Madison Ave. boasts a 60-seat dining room inspired by the 1950s-style “ovetto chair,” albeit with a more contemporary twist. Deep shades of red and cream in the furniture and walls imbue a warm contrast to the combination of white and black Italian marble flooring.

Photo by Andrew Scialulino