+Tongtong studio recently completed Barsa Taberna, bringing a hint of Spain to the heart of Toronto. John Tong and company took hold of the ground-floor rooms of a building located just around the corner from the St. Lawrence Market were totally and created a a tapas restaurant with a modern edge.
The project had work within he limits of this historic building, which is protected by specific building restrictions. Narrow spaces, exposed brick walls and the original windows and doors were enhanced to become part of the actual design project. The restaurant covers two distinct areas: a bar and an eatery.
The bar area features a concrete floor, onto which the studio applied a special pattern inspired by the shapes found in the architecture of Gaudì. The dining area on the other hand, was enhanced by the ceramic tiles created by Studio FM for DesignTaleStudio, the creative research laboratory of Ceramiche Refin.
The bar counter, in Corian, has original bar stools created specially by +Tongtong; they resemble the makeshift chairs often found in the tapas bars in downtown Barcelona. Three recessed LED lights are embedded in an iron structure with external elements that ironically resemble bull horns.
Directly in front of the counter, there’s a small dining area. The red chairs here – all identical – create a sharp contrast to the asymmetrical bar stools: the geometric pattern on the floor is repeated in a large mural decoration, created using 1,400 bottles of coloured glass. The archway in the exposed brick wall divides the bar area from the dining area.
The dining area has low ceilings, wooden benches and no windows. In order to exploit the spaces to the full, lighting is provided by a large back-lit murals that are also inspired by the bullfights, and were designed jointly by John Tong and well-known artist Pascal Paquette. The main design element in this area is the flooring: a tribute to the antique majolicas, with an amiably contemporary twist. The Frame collection by DesignTaleStudio is the perfect trait d’union between the antique walls and the expressive power of the back-lit murals.
The entire project blends in perfectly well with the revaluation project of the entire Market district and is a successful example of how the typical atmospheres of the antique Mediterranean hamlets can be recreated in a freezing cold city such as Toronto.
For more info about Ceramiche Refin, visit http://www.refin-ceramic-tiles.com/