Building connections through design and cuisine

Alessandro Lo Giudice is known for his work on residential and hospitality projects. In this interview, the architect/restaurateur describes his most recent project, Kucina, Singapore’s first Italian halal restaurant.

Was there a defining moment or specific project that ignited your passion for architecture and design?

It is difficult to say. After a few years of engineering school in Rome, I discovered that my true passion was designing buildings and memorable spaces for people to live in. This led me to abandon engineering and join the faculty of architecture. Ever since I was a student, I’ve been passionate about shaping cities, creating buildings, and guiding people on how to choose and shape their built environments. My commitment to great design and efficient interior planning has never faded.

How do your personal values and beliefs intersect with your work?

This happens daily. I believe in core values such as integrity, commitment, and discipline. These are the values I abide by and bring into my work as an architect and designer. Design aesthetics are inherently subjective and will not cater to everyone’s taste. Still, the core values I live by and which define my identity are what clients ultimately appreciate and look for when choosing a consultant.

Alessandro Lo Giudice at Memphis Again, a design exhibition held in Milan in 2022

You have lectured in hotel design and technical management. What motivated you to impart knowledge and mentor students in that field?

Teaching was a great moment in my career. I lectured in hotel design at Centro Studi sul Turismo (CST) in Assisi. Despite being relatively young and my first experience in teaching, it didn’t take long for me to become passionate about imparting my professional knowledge and experience. I gave teaching my all, and I still do this today with my young staff who have recently graduated. It’s wonderful to help young professionals gain a broader perspective on the profession, assisting them in tackling the many challenges it presents.

How did you transition from hospitality architecture to opening your own restaurants?

I learned a great deal through my career in hospitality design, where an astounding amount of attention to detail is required. If a design works and is practical for the hospitality sector, then it works almost everywhere. What I mostly embraced in this industry, however, was food and beverage design—creating restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. Designing venues is my primary profession, and my passion for it is undiminished.

Homely and elegant dining at Lo Giudice's venue in Singapore

Can you discuss your enthusiasm for sustainable design?

Sustainable design has been a priority for me since the 1990s, when it was a relatively unknown topic, far from dominating front page headlines and social media. Back then, in Italy, sustainable design was referred to as “Bio Architecture.” As much as we wanted to apply the principles of natural architecture and energy efficiency, it was difficult to convey these ideas to clients and get the principles implemented.

Which project or design have you poured your heart and soul into?

A project close to my heart was a craft brewery and restaurant a friend and Homely and elegant dining at Lo Giudice's venue in Singapore business partner decided to establish in Singapore. The major issue lay in developing the brewery 33 stories above the ground. This was by far the most challenging and exciting project I ever worked on. Nothing like this had ever been done before. The craft brewery and restaurant, called Level 33, is still going strong after 13 years at the top of the Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 in Singapore.

Level 33 Craft Brewery and Restaurant in Singapore

What motivated you to open Kucina, an Italian halal restaurant?

Thanks for this question because Kucina is a restaurant I hold very dear—it’s an enterprise that means a great deal to me. As my parallel career as a restaurateur evolved, I, together with my Muslim Italian friend who is a chef, decided to explore the potential of Italian halal cuisine. Living in Singapore and being Italian, we saw a unique opportunity to create an Italian restaurant featuring authentic recipes catering to people who may not otherwise have the chance to taste our wonderful food.

What do you anticipate will be your source of motivation in the future?

At this point in my career, I can say with confidence that I have fulfilled most of my professional aspirations. The passion that initially propelled me into architecture and design, active involvement in sustainable design, and a vision to unite people around a common table through shared values and principles are the motivations that will guide me into the future.

Architect and restaurateur Alessandro Lo Giudice

Images provided by Alessandro Lo Giudice