Outdoor Design

Michelin Star Chef to furnish his restaurant with luxury Karman lighting: a Peter Brunel project

Posted On 17 December 2022

A once modern villa with little more than a garden in the backcountry of Arco, Trentino Italy, near to Alto Garda, has been transformed into what we now know as Chef Peter Brunel’s Ristorante Gourmet, a location surely worth paying a visit to as it all but completely sheds the idea of what we might expect from a “typical” restaurant. With Michelin Star status also ensured for the coming year, and four exquisite menu tastings in addition to one a la carte option, the eclectic ambiance of this locale and its interior exhibition of unique art and design will be the first impression with which our chef presents this dining experience to the public. On the basis of mutual interests and appreciation for not only the final presentation, but the art of “the project” itself, as well as the means to this end as subtle as they need be witty, so was this collaboration kindled between Karman and Brunel.

“My clients are to be treated as welcomed guests, as dear friends whom I would invite into my own home. They are to be led into the sitting room for aperitifs and made comfortable at my table for this moment we have chosen to dedicate to our food, which, accompanied by seating specifically selected by myself for the utmost, full-body comfort, could go on for hours, after which they will be catered to once again in the nearby parlor,” so explains Brunel, most pleased with himself and his ability to offer those who venture into his midst a complete and total dining experience, where the artistic universe and that of his aesthetic vision are in equal standings to the dishes themselves.

Absolutely nothing has been left to chance, from the ceramic pieces to the mise-en-place to the light fixtures, of which the majority has been selected from Karman catalogs. That being said, the versatility of this marque has resulted in a collection of pieces of impregnable character, combining modern functionality with a touch of wit and irony and a seemingly archaic aesthetic.

“There is nothing random or coincidental regarding the Karman lamps and signature pieces, nothing is “too much” and no detail is without its specific purpose. I was immediately attracted to this expression of creativity, because not only do these fixtures offer their usefulness in the literal sense, but there is incredible sensory appeal, as well.”



Creating the ideal culinary atmosphere with eclectic aesthetic and artistic inspiration

Crossing the threshold of the Arco Gourmet Restaurant means embarking on a journey into the visionary universe of Peter Brunel. Light plays a fundamental role in the interior design and layout of the space: it highlights the path towards the heart of the room, accents the strengths of the furnishings and lastly, although certainly not least, it is an indisputable communicative feature. 

The rabbit and cylindrical suspension lamps from Karman’s Wow! collection, strategically placed at the entrance to the restaurant, are clear indicators of their purpose: the concepts of pleasure and delight are made evident by the holistic nuance, as if guests are quite literally being welcomed into the room.

Brunel's own passions were the starting point of it all, the primeval inspiration for this project. “I am a great lover of Gabriele D'Annunzio,” the chef insists. “Of his work and, more so than anything else, of his versatile mannerisms and his incredibly eventful life. His approach to style intrigues me. I essentially wanted to recreate the kitchen in his villa in my restaurant, using the same blueprints but updating certain technological aspects.”

Lit by “Le Pupette” chandeliers, a classic Karman model currently unavailable for purchase, the chef's delicacies are consumed first by the eyes and then by the stomach. “Mine is a creative approach to cuisine, although anchored in tradition, because all of its selections are a combination of personal experiences, travels and moments past; at the same time however, I like to reinterpret the classics, refining older cooking techniques and adding elements that, in my opinion, only enhance the dish. For instance, in my own rendition of Tournedos alla Rossini, you have the classic toasted bread, grilled beef tenderloin, French-style foie gras and truffles cooked in Madeira wine, but I have included a carrot cream with whiskey and morels because I like to think the composer inadvertently forgot to add the vegetable component.”




The choice of Karman fixtures for the Michelin restaurant: a very serious game

The space within Brunel's Ristorante Gourmet would likely not be the same if everything were not exactly as it is. This is thanks to the chef's own cultural contributions and encounters with reality that facilitated bringing his vision to fruition. Decorative lighting for restaurants helps to create that warm and welcoming environment, perfect for offering customers a “multi-sensory” experience and satisfying more than just the palette.

“I discovered Karman through social media. I was immediately struck by the lamps, which for me are more like sculptures with a specific function. The marque was also recommended to me by the company that assisted in choosing our furniture, which merely reaffirmed my decision. Thanks to Karman, even the lighting has become a part of the experience; no choice is random and each piece is perfect in its place, gratifying to the eye and essential in enticing my guests to enter my world, a plethora Alices bewitched by their White Rabbit.”

A perfect synthesis of the portal between past and present, the small Amarcord applique is an accentuating light which draws your attention to the well-stocked cellar; simple and graceful, it reminds us of the classic oil lamps with their concrete bases and glass diffusers.

The two Ugo Rilla lamps hanging from the wall of the hallway headed towards the restrooms steal away a smile from wandering guests. The ceramic trophies lead the way with the warm light of their three E27 bulbs hanging from the mouths of the friendly little monkeys.

The main attraction of the living room area is the Snoob chandelier, which replaces the traditionally intricate arms of the piece with clean-cut lines and a light fixture encased in white aluminum.

The lighting scheme is made complete by the Black Out white glass-resin chandeliers. The unique material creates an intricate, web-like effect that projects kaleidoscopic shadows onto nearby surfaces in a constant arrangement and rearrangement of reflections.

All of the products selected have been signed by Matteo Ugolini, art director and the man behind Karman, and with their unconventional characteristics they have proven to be the perfect finishing touch to Brunel's vision.

With such immense pride in his restaurant, the chef often loves meandering from table to table, almost like an innkeeper, approaching the more curious of his guests and narrating the details of the design. “If a patron is interested, I love to act as his guide, explaining my interpretation of this culinary journey and the ideas that I have transformed into dishes, as well as the intimacy and stratification of the place in which we currently find ourselves.”


Ugo Rilla

How to light up a restaurant: the chef tells all

That of Brunel's Gourmet Restaurant is certainly a worthy exhibition of both lighting and light fixtures, in which every room is adequately lit and there is no shortage of focal points that capture onlookers’ attention, namely the chandelier in the reception area where one might also find the sofas.

Karman lamps fit well into this context, their deliberate positioning at specific heights and distances so as to avoid glare while also guaranteeing visual comfort for their spectators. Wall sconces and floor lamps line the main paths within the facility, helping guests to orient themselves and reach their desired destination without the need of assistance.

The aforementioned rabbits and cylindrical fixtures from Wow! for instance, invite you to proceed instinctively towards the inside of the dining area. Each table is then accentuated by a suspension lamp which guarantees diners an uninhibited perception of the color of the food they are to enjoy and also allows them to admire the chromatic and textural combinations that the chef has carefully and painstakingly chosen for each individual plating.

Chef Peter Brunel is certainly satisfied with the fruits of his labor, so much so that he has actually confessed to one last dream tucked away: “Now that I’m feeling a bit of an artist myself, and I do quite enjoy taking part in creating what I later gift to my friends, I would very much like to collaborate with Karman and design a lamp together.”

Click here to browse the image gallery of Peter Brunel's Gourmet Restaurant.


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Camilla Rossi


Camilla Rossi



Karman, an Italian company, was founded in 2005 in Fossombrone. The company's world moves itself with simplicity towards an original and personal decorative use of lighting in both private surroundings and public spaces.