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Simurgh Café in Milan, Italy by Zomorrodi & Associates

Project name:
Simurgh Cafe
Architecture firm:
Zomorrodi & Associates
Milan, Italy
Tools used:
Principal architect:
Shahrooz Zomorrodi
Design team:
Yasaman Fathi, Alireza Shojakhani , Delaram Arafati , Nastaran Shabanzadeh , Payam Alrahman
Built area:
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Ali Moravej, Afshin Khodabandeloo
Mr. Rahmani
Concept - Design
Hospitality › Cafe

Zomorrodi & Associates: At Café Simurgh, a truly traditional dining experience is represented by various beverages and exquisite dining positions. The valley lounges include conventional dining tables, casual benches for active social encounters and bar stools are a new take on ground-level -Sofreh- dining. The Central Gallery allows standing and movement throughout the art of oriented passage.

Simurgh (30 birds) written by Attar, is a masterpiece of Persian literature. It is a story of a journey of innumerable birds through 7 valleys, led by a hoopoe in search of God. Only 30 birds complete the journey to discover what they sought within themselves. This story imbues the entire project the birth of which results from a combination of Attar’s Simurgh and the concept of the seed of life. The project is a symbolic representation of Simurgh and the events of Attar’s story.

The Seed of Life is a universal symbol of creation. The name of this pattern instantly offers insight into its deeper meaning and purpose. Found at the heart of an ancient pattern called the Flower of Life, there is an entire cosmology of consciousness encoded into this singular geometric seed. The Seed of Life is formed from a relationship of 6 circles around one. In fact, 6 circles will always fit exactly around a 7th circle of the same size. Each circle fits into this pattern like a lock and key, forming a dynamic field of possible geometric relationships which reveal the most fundamental shapes of Creation. These 7 circles mirror our chakras, the colors of the rainbow & even musical scales! It forms a foundation upon which the infinite, fractal nature of life can be understood.

The Lounge comprises 7 interdependent zones that embody the 7 stages of self-transcendence leading to Gnosticism.

The seven valleys as described by Farid Al-Din Attar in the Conference of the Birds can metaphorically create seven variegated atmospheres within Cafe Simurgh. Each valley is represented by a different lighting scheme, a specific material color pallet, and a distinctive aroma.

Each of the six surrounding valleys consists of 5 apses. Together these 30 apses, representing the thirty birds of Si-Murgh create the six vaults that lead to the center hall. The circular Gallery connects the valleys to the center hall while creating a sense of motion. However, the Gallery also separates the central hall from the valleys to create an intimate space for the enjoyment of the performances and visual art.

The Center Hall continues the motion of the gallery and creates a fluid space that resembles the swirling of the skirt of Sufi dancers. Each table has a private entrance while also being able to get a perfect view of the art performances and architecture of Cafe Simurgh.

The Architecture of Cafe Simurgh references the vaults and domes of traditional Iranian architecture without imitating the historical forms. Traditional ornaments such as ceramics and mirrors are explored with modern technological advancements to produce an architecture that respects its past but looks to the future.

By Liliana Alvarez

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