Piazza Bra, Verona

The history of 19th and early 20th century urban architecture shows a close connection with the culture of businesses, bars, coffee shops and hotels of particular acclaim, which were certainly responsible for creating interesting open air spaces that were usually oriented to face a city square. This is how fabulous verandas and porticoes held by slender cast iron columns came into existence. These spaces were built to shelter customers as they enjoyed food and drink. There are places, mainly squares, where several businesses stand side by side to create a unique setting. Verandas allow a building to extend towards the street, and the quality of this type of construction impacts the city fabric deeply and enhances its value. Piazza Bra in Verona, with its view of the famous Arena, has been the perfect example of this concept since the 1920s.

The previous situation and its importance

A ‘single’ veranda of 1,000 square meters of green awnings united all of the restaurants located on the square. The construction was supported by steel tubes.

From idea to project

The illustrious Franco Zeffirelli often came to this place when he directed productions at the Arena, and his presence helped produce a proposal for a complete redesign of the verandas of the different businesses. The trained eye of a scenographer who usually looked only inside the Arena began looking outside at the large square. This is how Neri came to work closely with Mr. Zeffirelli, and this collaboration brought about the construction of a light but aesthetically significant structure to decorate this important place. Columns, decorations, lights and colours of the awnings matched with the colours of the façades on the square became basic concepts in the project.

Lighting engineering project

For internal lighting, spot LED luminaires were recessed into the load bearing parts of the roof, built in anodised aluminium like the structure. Specifications: 3 LED, 4,000K, 350lm, 6W, opening angle 120°. The luminaire is fitted with an opalescent diffuser to minimise glare towards people sitting at tables underneath it. The spotlights are arranged at asymmetrical intervals. Since the structure is inclined, the light fixtures are spaced further apart as the distance from the ground is reduced, and this creates uniform lighting on the tables. A total of 400 spot LED were installed. 3,000K warm light and reduced glare ensure high visual comfort. In addition to low energy consumption, these spot lights are powered in series by power supply units that allow them to be dimmed in the areas that make up the structures. Opal globes present on the side facing the square contribute to enhancing both internal and perimeter lighting, which helps favour inclusion in the context of the square.