Taste tests

In this issue, we bring together three interiors whose raison d’tre is the preparation and serving of food. Though they share attributes (two out of three also feature bars, for example), they are more different than alike: the first is a seafood restaurant in Vancouver; second is a fusion restaurant/nightclub in a Montreal hotel; and third is a French pastry shop in Toronto. What really connects them, other than food, is how successfully the designers of each have met certain challenges.

Challenge #1: Design a new Coast (a Vancouver seafood stalwart) without resorting to clich (as Box Interior Design’s H. Jay Brooks puts it, “It’s easy to get trite and kitschy when you’re working on a seafood restaurant called Coast”). Brooks’s maritime elements are fresh, not fusty — such as an abstract work of art that suggests a school of fish and, in the adjacent O Lounge, mirrored ovals that hang from the ceiling like suspended jellyfish. (See “From Coast to Coast”.)

Challenge #2: Create a new restaurant/nightclub in Opus Hotel Montreal that is equally attractive to locals and hotel guests. Designer Robert Bailey’s original design for Koko Restaurant + Bar — playing with the idea of day and night, white and black — is glam and fun and fits perfectly into Opus’s scheme of things. (See “Sleep on it,” managing editor Erin Donnelly’s review of Opus and Koko.)

Challenge #3: Transform a decrepit photography studio on Toronto’s Queen Street West into a modern French pastry shop that puts the emphasis on the food. In the pure and simple design for Nadge, Nelson Kwong Architects ensured that nothing would compete with the exquisite-looking pastries laid out on a pristine display case running the length of the room. “The design is guided by a simple honesty,” notes writer David Steiner. “See the food, buy the food, watch them make the food.” (See “Simply delicious”.)

Bon apptit. CI

Michael Totzke [email protected]