Eight Rings and a Mirror

The 2,260-sq.-ft. showroom at Toronto’s Finch Avenue Optometry is pristine and elegant: a careful arrangement of sleek, curving white lines and luxurious black accents. It is the sort of space that demands reverence, not least because upon entering the eyes are immediately drawn upward, where affixed to the ceiling is a magnificent sculptural fixture made of MDF board. Eight concentric rings cascade downwards, punctuated by an enigmatic mirror in the centre. Each disk features recessed LED lights and takes a different shape as it reaches for the space below.

The space is grounded with white Cambria stone tile flooring, a deliberately uplifting arrangement set off by black leather chairs and black granite tables. Flat-screen monitors embedded into the wall add dimension and modernity to an already futuristic room. The display case of eyewear curves like a regal Siza building. This is, without a doubt, a room made for standing and looking.

“It was the first optometry office that we designed,” says Tania Bortolotto, principal of Borolotto Design Architect Inc. “So we really wanted to incorporate the mechanics of the eye. The light fixture was inspired by that and particularly by depth of field.”

Bortolotto, who trained in architecture and has been practicing since 1999, acknowledges the sculptural bent of her interiors. She explains that detailed, intricate ceilings often characterize the firm’s work.

“I think we’ve always been trying to define how we’re different, or define what our work is,” she says. “As an architect it takes a really long time to figure that out and I think we’re starting to do that. What ties together the design of Finch Avenue Optometry is having an architecture that is dynamic, with a lot of movement in it. It occurs on many levels, in a harmonious and holistic way.”

The client was pleased with the results: “Patients come in and are pleasantly surprised at the openness, the brightness, and the clean look and feel of the space. I never would have expected it to look like this on the inside.”

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