The grand, 220-seat space is rendered as a series of privileged niches, pockets, and corners, defined by the remaining scars and ghosts of previous domestic occupation of the typical Toronto ‘apartment above the store.’ The experience is defined by the characteristics of a number of distinct spaces such as the large eating bar, the dining-rooms, the open pizza oven, the Ballatio outdoor loggia, the Rifugio event space, and the now infamous roof-top patio.
Hospitality in ‘the Old Apartment’
From the street level storefront up to the third-storey roof terrace, this addition to the family of Terroni restaurants forges a new typology on Toronto’s infamous Yonge Street. The design’s invention lies in turning the disadvantage of being hidden from street level, out of public sight and away from passers-by, into a unique asset.
The entrance at Price Street with its cranked reception desk replaces the typical General Store at grade with product shelving and even a checkout counter that functions as a reservations and host counter. The biased geometry of the second level’s inlaid wood floor registers here as ceiling baffles made from reclaimed Douglas Fir and aligned with the angle of the nearby North Toronto train tracks.
This grain, which defines the field of unfinished red oak flooring on the second floor, is occasionally interrupted by dramatic ‘scars ‘and gaps of mosaic tile and metal inlay that have a story to tell. They are meant to virtually register the spaces left by previous demising walls. Objectified installations of banquettes, custom tables and Georgian-wire glass screens respect the order, rather, of Toronto’s street grid.
Etched metal panels, overlapping imperfectly create a kind of proscenium above the age-old, naturally stained, Cipollino bar, seemingly recycled from the site. The exposed scaffold, left over from the process of selective demolition, supports a new stair that clings to the remains of a masonry wall and wood-burning fireplace and leads patrons to an unexpected large roof terrace.
Deep within the warren of a series of enfilade Victorian-scale rooms, a doorway gives way to a tall, double-height space named Rifugio like the nestled lodges found in the Italian alps. Designed as an escape from the escape, this event space exposes an existing cathedral ceiling now embellished with reclaimed Hemlock boards and beams. The tall space is flanked on the north side with a vertical window centered on the Yonge Street vista and framed by deep wood crates and raw, expanded metal wine shelving that open up to a full-height glass refrigerator at glimpses to the kitchen on the east side.
Imola Light Fixture
Like all GPA hospitality projects, a series of custom lights punctuate the various spaces. Most notably, the racetrack light that completes the Rifugio is designed to both destabilize the rigid order of the space, and to expand its height. This 20 foot light continues the race-track series begun in Terroni Adelaide with an interpretation of the Fiorano track in red. Here, the powder coated metal light traces the Autodromo at Imola in white.
The 175-seat roof terrace sits on new granite pavers and custom wood banquettes, pergolas, and loungers much like a seaside ‘lido’ that overlooks the awesome Toronto skyline to the north and south. A backdrop of white billowing drapes set against the ad-hoc pattern of white glazed tile along the bar of whitewashed boards set opposite the exposed white marble fireplace, extends the outdoor season of the unsuspecting Canadian city.
Structural — Atkins + Van Groll
Mechanical & Electrical — BK Consulting
Code — Larden Muniak Consulting
Artist / Graphics
Graphic Design and Lighting – Small Project Studio