Sud Forno Temperance

A Devotion to Food

Non-Finito is a technique in sculpture where the work appears to be unfinished accepting that the original material will always be more beautiful than the artist’s intervention. Sud Forno is a contemporary interpretation of a basilica ruin built inside a heritage building at Yonge & Temperance streets in Toronto’s financial district. It’s a place for food devotees.

Forato clay block with exposed joints adds warmth and texture to the ground floor bakery and dining area.

The main floor “La Mensa” is where patrons can stay to eat or pick up hot or cold food to go Italian cafeteria-style. A monumental, wood vault becomes the unifying element. It evokes a basilica vault made of quarter-sawn white oak like an unfinished basket that spans and collects people from the entrance and coffee bar, through the cafeteria style seating, and the altar-like ‘tavola calda’.

Side aisles act as confessionals for those seeking absolution through pastries or pizza, and its mosaic floor evokes the flour and sawdust of local suburban Italian bakeries. Finally, the bakery and ovens are captured at the end of the space by a deep mahogany arch – an apse devoted to the warmth and aroma of fresh bread on Sundays.

“On a Sunday it was a different kind of religious experience and that feeling we’d get in those kinds of bakeries inspired us when we designed Sud Forno.”

Non-finito; a technique where the sculpture is purposely unfinished.

We find joy in the unexpected details and materials that occupy the space between new, pristine installations, and the ‘non-finito’ of the exposed, 19th C. host building.

Leather strapping detail interwoven into cast iron bannisters of the stairwell.

GPA signature forato clay tiles, still waiting for a layer of finish plaster, are alternately rotated at the corner to create an almost decorative edge and lining to the raw steel stair. Steel ‘ribbons’, artifacts from a former use, are stitched together with fresh cut leather strapping, leading the public to the finer upper level dining.

“Osteria Da Geppeto”, on the second floor, is devoted to Cosimo Mammoliti’s father, Vince. In creating its menu, executive chef Giovanna Alonzi wanted the presence of bread and mother yeast to be felt as a reminder that “Geppetto” is Sud Forno’s restaurant. The menu reinterprets classic Italian dishes and traditional ingredients against a backdrop of warm wood and light.

Custom light fixture: Confessional

As kids in the suburbs of Toronto we spent time going to the local Italian bakery on Sundays to get bread and pizza dough. The floors were always covered in flour and sawdust. In winter the windows were fogged up with condensation and the air was filled with the smell of warm fresh bread. These bakeries had a ‘tavola calda’ where food was kept behind glass covered in small fingerprints. You could eat there or pack things up to take home…

Sud Forno Temperance was awarded an Ontario WoodWorks Award. The SUD projects have been widely published in design and hospitality media, including Perspective Magazine, Azure Magazine, and Surface.

Project Facts

  • Client

    Terroni Restaurants

  • Location

    Toronto, Ontario

  • Size

    7,000 sq. ft

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Structural — Atkins and Van Groll

    Mechanical — Brumar Engineering

    Electrical — Inviro Engineered Systems

  • General Contractor

    D’Andrea Consulting

  • Photography

    Richard Johnson

  • Artist / Graphics

    Graphic Design — Small Project Studio