MA Chinese

Best of Canada Winner

MA Chinese


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A year-long renovation of a 1915-vintage grocery in downtown St. Catharines retained the most-appealing base-building features: the original timber post-and-beam construction and the brick veneer walls.

The brick’s earthy tones glow warmly under the raking lighting concealed behind seating banquettes, adding gravitas and drama to the big room. Indeed, lighting plays a key role in setting the prevailing mood of mystery and restful antiquity. Playing off against the low ambient light level, pools of glare-free LED light focus on the dining tables and design features such as the intricate swirls on the 25-foot-long bar’s marble front.

Full-height thematic metal screens inspired by traditional Chinese window treatments divide the various zones inside the two-storey, 300-seat restaurant. The extensive art program includes back-of-bar shelving framing botanical watercolours.

The reception area boasts a sculptural table made of century-old knotty Indonesian wood, and a mural of Chinese nobles gathered, appropriately, for a feast.


Dialogue 38


St. Catharines, Ont.


Photography: Kerun Ip

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