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