OMB’s award-winning Bosk

The Vancouver-based Office of Mcfarlane Biggar (OMB) has been awarded a 2013 North American Wood Design Award by Wood Design & Building magazine and the Canadian Wood Council for its project Bosk Restaurant. Sixteen projects were selected from over 125 entries by an esteemed architectural jury.


Opened in the summer of 2012, Bosk restaurant in the base of Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel was conceived as a luxurious and elegant space to complement the hotel lobby, while also establishing its own identity as the hotel restaurant and bar. Its design expresses the Shangri-La’s timeless and understated aesthetic and its subtle Asian-inspired theme. The project’s scope extended beyond the interior design to also include Bosk’s branding and graphics, as well as custom furniture and commissioned art selection.

The designers conceived “Bosk” – meaning “a small wooded area” – as the restaurant name to establish the design direction. Their conceptual interpretation of the theme is manifested by the oak panels and screens that envelope the space, ensuring a harmonious aesthetic throughout. The panels and sliders define dining, lounge and bar areas, offering flexibility in the room configurations. Each panel features a repeated graphic pattern used in an array of forms – embossed, impressed and perforated – highlighting the remarkable and transformative qualities of the space. Perforated panels create translucent screens to give privacy while also filtering light. Impressed ceiling panels add texture while hiding mechanical and electrical features. An embossed feature wall in the lounge explodes the pattern in extreme relief.

The density of the wood is complemented by cream travertine walls and floors, white solid surfaces, bronze detailing, and tones of warm taupes and deep purples in the furniture. A sea of hand-blown glass pendant lights in varying shades of green and amber, and commissioned large-scale photographs of local forest areas, bring the interior to life. Some of Bosk’s palette is shared with the hotel lobby to establish the continuity required as the hotel restaurant. However, the proportions and applications of the materials were adjusted to allow Bosk to also maintain its own brand. While the lobby heavily features the travertine stone on all surfaces with only accents of the oak wood, Bosk uses the wood to define the restaurant with a dramatic and dense application.

The restaurant bar was positioned at the entry to Bosk to service both the lobby and the restaurant and adjacent to the full-height glazing to display animated views of the interior to the street. As the restaurant is open from breakfast through to dinner, there was a desire to downplay the bar during the morning sittings.


The Office of Mcfarlane Biggar architects + designers (OMB) is an energetic, award-winning, full-services design firm in North Vancouver, Canada. The firm is committed to sustainable building practices, with a focus on the success of its clients and its communities. OMB principals Steve McFarlane and Michelle Biggar have been in practice together for over 10 years, and are supported by the creative energy of 24 design professionals. Intentionally multidisciplinary, the practice embraces architecture, interior design, graphic design, wayfinding and branding, as well as master planning and urban design.

The designers believe that the thoughtful integration of all these disciplines is the key to their unique success, and they strive for this on all projects. The practice embraces a diverse array of building types and scales, which the designers believe contributes to the success of all the projects they undertake.

OMB is committed to buildings that are environmentally responsible and have marshalled several projects through the LEED process for certification at various levels throughout its history. One third of OMB colleagues hold LEED accreditation. The firm always encourages its clients to enhance the sustainability objectives of the project using passive techniques.

OMB’s portfolio is diverse. It demonstrates that the firm’s strengths – in problem solving, consensus building and responsible design solutions – come together in thoughtful, welcoming, and sustainable built work. Cross-pollination of ideas across projects – big and small – is how OMB continues to be invigorated by its work. OMB strives to bring innovation to every project.