Victor Le Germain
Hotel Le Germain Mercer Street invited DesignAgency to transform Victor, its hotel restaurant. With the many surrounding condos, this district is quickly becoming a neighbourhood in its own right – within five years, almost 40,000 people will live within a two-block radius of the hotel – and Le Germain wanted Victor to function as a true hotel restaurant and a destination for morning coffee, business lunches, and late-night dining.
Before, Victor had no connections with the lobby or street. The only entrance to the restaurant was through the lobby, and it was unwelcoming to non-hotel guests. The design was dark, uninviting, and Victor only functioned as a nighttime establishment. Its interior lacked flexibility.
With the redesign, Victor has a distinctive and cohesive brand identity. The now highly fluid space comprises a dining area with leather banquettes, a chef’s table in a side alcove and an open servery counter beyond, an intimate bar-lounge, and a café with communal harvest table – all of which meld and transition seamlessly into the hotel’s lobby, which the hotel also redesigned to compliment the new hospitality space. Guests can enter through the hotel lobby, or directly from the street through the casual grab-and-go café. Openness with both the lobby and Mercer Street invites passersby to stop in for a drink or a meal.
Victor’s alluring interiors offer visual treats throughout. The restaurant, bar and café are adorned with soft, rich colours, authentic woods and leathers meant to mellow with age, plus a collection of historic homages, which give a pseudo-domestic feeling. The bar-lounge’s LED-backlit shelves are filled with vintage china, crystal, bronze chargers and the display shelves behind the chef’s table and servery showcase artfully arranged relics of domestic hospitality including antique china, bottles, books and paintings, all adding to the comfortable ambiance and prompt conversation.
The refined and gracious atmosphere is defined by Victor’s material palette: natural stone countertops, warm wood veneer shelving and millwork, frosted amber mirror inserts in the open shelving, plus playful patterned concrete tiling in the café, soft Salisbury-green table tops, and serpentine banquettes upholstered in peacock-blue leather.
Lighting is central to the venue’s ambiance. A spectacular custom-fixture constructed from brass tubing strung with white globes squiggles around and swoops down over the main room to drop the ceiling height and create intimacy, breaking into sections scattered throughout the dining room. Designed to glow against the deep gravel-grey ceiling backdrop, this light sculpture demarcates and grounds the dining room, while imparting a sense of vitality and character to the entire restaurant.
The new Victor is approachable, universal, and versatile enough to attract hotel guests as well as daytime business visitors, corporate event-goers, and special occasion groups connected to the nearby entertainment district for a range of experiences.
Photos by Lisa Petrole.