Carbon Bar

The Carbon Bar

A New Performance in an Old Recording Studio

The Car­bon Bar is a 180-seat restau­rant locat­ed in Toronto’s Moss Park dis­trict. Its name ref­er­ences the inno­v­a­tive menu of bar­be­qued and smoked items whose aro­ma fills the 30’ high old tele­vi­sion record­ing stu­dio at the base of a 19th cen­tu­ry ware­house build­ing.

Pin stripes and mixingboard at entry.
Pin stripes and mix­ing boards at entry by Jel­ly­funk Cre­ative.

The design accom­mo­dates a grand din­ing room, a more inti­mate bar, open kitchen, and pri­vate din­ing room. The Car­bon Bar aims to set the stage for a new din­ing and drink­ing expe­ri­ence with the­atri­cal light­ing, rear-view mir­rors, sets, and a green room that over­looks the main din­ing ‘per­for­mance’ space. Its awe­some height is both pro­nounced and defined using archi­tec­tur­al ele­ments and light­ing to strate­gi­cal­ly embrace din­ers in var­i­ous seat­ing sce­nar­ios.

The Car­bon Bar sets out to cre­ate a relaxed envi­ron­ment with­in the grand and poten­tial­ly for­mal scale of the old record­ing stu­dio, while selec­tive­ly tak­ing advan­tage of the awe­some height.

The illu­mi­na­tion and acoustic chal­lenges for din­ing and con­vers­ing in such a space were embraced as design oppor­tu­ni­ties, which worked to define and dis­tin­guish a vari­ety of expe­ri­ences with­in the large space.

Cul­tur­al ele­ments in neon and fab­ric ban­ners recall the his­to­ry of the space to famil­iar locals and new­com­ers alike. The “Elec­tric” neon sign, “Baby Blue” ban­ner and plas­tic Dis­ney char­ac­ters punc­tu­ate the expe­ri­ence of this new set­ting for Bar­beque, Ket­tle Corn and Split Pea Frit­ters.

Per­son­al col­lec­tions rotate at the ‘Chef’s table.’

The design devis­es a grid of cus­tomised, over­sized pan­to­graph lights, a series of table spe­cif­ic spots, neon accents, and a cus­tom fab­ric chan­de­lier that col­lec­tive­ly define the zones of the restau­rant now wrapped in routered, ply­wood pan­els like heavy stage cur­tains that are inter­rupt­ed to expose Vic­to­ri­an brick, dis­tressed con­crete, and an unsight­ly duct absorbed by bands of colour much like a piece of instal­la­tion art.

Project Facts

  • Client

    The Car­bon Bar

  • Location

    Toron­to, Ontario

  • Size

    2 storeys, 180 seats

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Struc­tur­al — AMR Engi­neer­ing

    Mechan­i­cal & Asso­ciates — Fu Asso­ciates

    Light­ing — Light­bri­gade

    Kitchen — Anjin­nov Man­age­ment

  • Photography

    Rena­to Ceriso­la

  • Artist / Graphics

    Graph­ic Design — Jel­ly­funk