CORE’s design for Mozzeria establishes a truly differentiated pizza prototype concept, which is owned and led by Deaf and hard of hearing people. A simple and modern design aesthetic in combination with a layout that facilitates clear visual communication lines throughout the restaurant results in a social, inclusive, and safe dining experience.
Mozzeria opened its first location in San Francisco in 2011. Looking to expand their concept on a national level with the support of Communication Service for the Deaf’s Social Venture Fund (CSD SVF), Mozzeria partnered with CORE to create a prototype design that embodies the spirit of the original location and is simple to replicate for expansion. The 2,500 SF DC location is in a new mixed-use residential building, the Baldwin, at 1300 H Street NE in Washington, DC, just steps away from Gallaudet University, the world's only university designed to be barrier-free for deaf and hard of hearing students.
CORE worked closely with the team to include DeafSpace design principles, which emphasize better visual and sensory awareness through clear sightlines, spatial orientation, and careful positioning of lighting, windows, and seating. Mozzeria’s first restaurant in San Francisco has an AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) designation, which maintains strict requirements for Neapolitan pizza making. With these standards in mind, the main point of attraction in the DC space is a beautifully designed Acunto Mario Forni wood-fired Doppio oven. The other main element is a full-service bar in a horseshoe shape to facilitate clear visual communication lines across the bar and lend a very social atmosphere. The Mozzeria brand is characterized by a simple black and white palette with accents of red. The Mozzeria logo text is iconic to the brand and is used in a few special places throughout the space, including mosaic tile over the mouths of the pizza oven and inset in the floor tile at the front door. The environment needed to be monochromatic to express the brand, but also have warmth to create the inviting atmosphere the client desired. In order to do this, CORE softened the palette by using wood in select areas in both black-stained and natural oak tones. Warm grey textures accent the space in upholsteries and wallcoverings. Countertops are either white solid surface material or Carrara marble (where required by AVPN for pizza preparation) to keep the palette editorial. To add a hint of red accent, a sophisticated burgundy tile is applied to the front of the bar. Every space and finish has been designed to place visual importance on the pizza oven, while creating a backdrop through finishes and lighting that facilitate sign language communication for visitors both deaf and hearing.