The designer was commissioned to transform an existing Italian restaurant nestled in downtown Toronto into an upscale yet tranquil dining environment inspired by the client’s Asian cuisine menu. The client requests to increase visibility of the restaurant’s interiors from street view; rearrange seating while improving the efficiency of the kitchen; and provide certain privacy for each dining tables.
With concerns of restoring and co-opting the existing HVAC system and adopting a 100-year-old building structure, the designer reconfigured and enlivened the space on a modest budget to create an efficient and unique environment.
The entryway adorns a dry landscape that acts as an interstitial space connecting the street with the dining space. A route that wanders through the dining area and leads to the kitchen is designed for the circulation of a BBQ cart. A series of wooden screens with cut circular shapes, enclosing the dining tables and arranged throughout the restaurant, provide visual points of interest and are aligned in an axis towards the dry landscape.
Bold, rectangular shaped niches and wooden stands are balanced in effect with a number of displays of ikebana in ceramic by local artisans. The design successfully transformed the existing space into a tranquil and welcoming modern Zen garden like room for communal dining. The client, and more importantly, the customers, are thoroughly enjoying this modern Zen garden inspired space and claims the space brings a mind of peacefulness. Unfamiliar yet warm in aesthetic, the restaurant is also functional and efficient in design, and one of the latest additions to Bloor Street’s streetscape of urban cuisine culture.
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