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    Nivek Remas renovates founder's home to serve as its office space

    Toronto studio Nivek Remas has renovated its founder’s home to create an office for the studio based on changes in working conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Early in 2020, the Canadian interior design studio led by Kevin Chan and Samer Shaath was poised to lease new office space for its expanding business. However, these plans were halted by pandemic restrictions.
    Nivek Remas renovated one of its founder’s home for the studio officesThroughout the lockdowns that impacted Canadians and the subsequent work-from-home standards, the office sought ways to work together in the future, without going to an office full-time.
    “[We] quickly recognized the shift in what defines an office and the culture that was evolving from those blurred lines,” Nivek Remas’ Kevin Chan told Dezeen.
    The home was converted to have spaces for work and leisureThe duo decided to renovate one of their homes to serve as an office for the young firm, which was established in 2016.

    The new studio was completed in 2021 and is located in an area of Toronto called Cabbagetown, just east of the city centre.
    The studio plays into the work-from-home trendIt occupies 1,250 square feet (116 square metres) of a standalone house in a residential neighbourhood.
    The completed studio has a main office area, conference rooms, as well a kitchen and a dining nook.
    The ground floor has eight workstationsVisitors enter the office along a green hallway accented with glass wall sconces. By the entrance, there is a powder room and a coat closet.
    The ground floor has eight workstations laid in an open-concept configuration. Most of the furniture is black, including the desktops and chairs.
    The space functions as a workstation for the interior design studioAt the front of the house, a kitchenette and breakfast nook look out onto the street. The designers used a darker palette of greens and olive tones in the kitchenette area to contrast the workstations, which are painted white and filled with light and plants.
    An open staircase leads to the upper floor, where the team included a new conference room that offers some privacy from the main work area. It includes a long table and a couch, for more informal gatherings.
    Dark greens were used for some walls and detailsOther amenities of this home-and-office combination include a gym and bike storage for commuters located in the basement.
    The founders of Nivek Remas said that although the new office space helps collaboration, they balance out the time spent there with remote work.

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    The studio said that it has embraced a fully hybrid model and that the office space allows for “creative gathering”.
    “We see this as our studio for at least another five years or until we outgrow the space,” Chan said. “It’s a true representation of our studio work and ethos but also a true representation of the times and how casually defined offices are now.
    “Corporate offices are trying to become more WFH and more casual with coffee bars, and table tennis or gaming break out areas, but we’re approaching it from the other direction and making a residential space more studio,” he added.

    Many architects and designers embraced the work-from-home trend, building out new spaces for themselves during the pandemic.
    Other examples include a coastal Maine cabin that 30X40 Design Workshop completed as its office, and the Beverly Hills home of Gerhard Heusch, who built himself an underground office using concrete.
    The photography is by Scott Norsworthy.
    Project credits:Interior design: Nivek RemasConstruction: Shape Building GroupMillwork: Ell-Rod Architectural Millwork

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    Omar Gandhi designs a “light-filled wood cathedral” for Toronto restaurant

    Canadian studio Omar Gandhi Architect has created a vaulted-wood interior inside a non-descript brick building for chef Matty Matheson’s restaurant in Toronto.

    Prime Seafood Palace is located in West Queen West and was a collaborative effort between Omar Gandhi Architect (OGA) and the restaurant’s chef, Matheson, who has developed an internet following.
    OGA designed a restaurant in the West Queen West neighbourhood of TorontoThe space was imagined as “a light-filled wood cathedral, lining an otherwise inconspicuous existing brick-clad building that blends into the city’s urban fabric,” the studio said.
    “I think that all of us brought different ideas to the table, but for our design team we wanted the space to be a surprise inside of a fairly unassuming new urban building on a very busy street,” Omar Gandhi, principal of OGA, told Dezeen.
    The restaurant has vaulted wooden ceilingsThe primary entrance to the restaurant is separated from the street by a courtyard next to the adjacent building. The facade of the building – an earlier brick building, similar to many others in that area of Toronto – was painted white.

    OGA placed a vaulted wood structure within the brick envelope so that the main dining room of the restaurant nests within. In order to achieve this, the architects suspended the wooden vault from the ceiling.
    Natural leather was used for the upholsteryThe principal goal was to create a “timeless space, free of trends, with local, natural materials that develop a patina and continue to enrich the restaurant over time,” said OGA.
    “Designing with wood and light was the starting point for the design,” the studio added.
    Brass detailing was used throughout the main dining roomThe vaulted room hosts the main dining room, where the white maple louvres that make up the ceiling extend over the windows.
    Here, OGA upholstered the booths that line the space with natural leather, based on ones used in Matheson’s grandfather’s restaurant on Prince Edward Island, the Blue Goose.
    Above the space, a “wood-clad cloud” runs the length of the peak of the vault and filters natural light from a skylight in the roof of the exterior envelope.
    The bar is covered by a wooden canopyNear the servers’ station is an accessible restroom with concrete walls, which has a double-height volume that allows the space to be lit by a skylight above.
    In this restroom, a custom concrete sink by Brandon Gore was cast in the shape of Canada’s Lake Erie, with a brass marker indicating the location of Matheson’s Ontario farm.
    The wood extends into the open kitchenMore louvres form the railing that separates the different sections of the main dining room, which feature brass detailing and lamps.
    A full bar covered by a cantilevered wood canopy stretches the length of the space, while a passage next to the bar leads into a private dining room.

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    At the end of the bar is the elevated slope that leads to an open concept kitchen.
    The restaurant also has a secondary dining space in the backroom, which has slightly different detailing – such as a wood-burning stove and wooden walls – that makes it “reminiscent of Ontario’s cabin country,” according to the designers.
    The backroom opens up onto the courtyardThis dining area also has glass doors on one side that lead out into the courtyard.
    Throughout the restaurant, OGA worked with Coolican & Company to conceive custom furniture both for the kitchen and the dining space. A standout feature was the inclusion of drawers in the booths that hold the restaurant’s custom knife sets.
    The custom tables have drawers for steak knivesOmar Gandhi Architects is based in Novia Scotia. Other projects include a home near Lake Ontario with a winding wood staircase as well as a cedar-clad home in Halifax.
    The photography is by Adrian Ozimek and Doublespace. 
    Project credits:
    Design team: Omar Gandhi, Stephanie Hosein, Jeff Walker, John Gray Thompson, Chad Jamieson, LaurenMcCrimmon, Kris MacDonald, Liam ThornewellRestaurant team: Matty Matheson, Gary Quinto, Coulson Armstrong, and Our House Hospitality CompanyPhysical model: Mary MaStructural: Diomis EngineeringMechanical & electrical: Spline GroupCode: LMDG Building Code Consultants Ltd.Lighting controls & dimming: OneLXCustom furniture: Coolican & CompanyMillworker (primary): Canara Woodworking Inc.Additional millwork: CNC Cung Inc.Custom concrete sinks: Brandon Gore (Hard Goods)Custom booth pendants: Concord Custom LightingCustom signage: Filo TimoArt: Darby MilbraithSpecialty paint finish: Handsome PaintersUniforms: Rosa RugosaContractor: Mazenga Building Group (primary), Bootstrap Design/BuildManufacturers/Suppliers: Moncer (engineered hardwood flooring), Baro Klaus (selected furniture & specialty lighting), Stone Tile (tile), KOL (fiber cement cladding), Vaughan Electrical Supply (lighting), Nella (equipment), Stovemaster (brick hearth), MBH (Steel/glass doors), Sørensen Leather

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    Frank Architecture creates intimate setting for Calgary's Lonely Mouth noodle bar

    Canadian studio Frank Architecture has designed a Japanese restaurant in Calgary where wood panelling, low lighting and corduroy-upholstered chairs all contribute to a cosy atmosphere.

    The Lonely Mouth bar and restaurant is named in reference to the Japanese concept of kuchisabishii, which means “when you’re not hungry, but you eat because your mouth is lonely”.
    A screen of wooden dowels divides the bar and restaurants areas at Lonely MouthFound at the eastern end of Calgary’s 17 Avenue commercial strip, only a few blocks from Frank Architecture’s studio in the city, the bar serves udon made in-house and boasts an extensive sake selection.
    “Lonely Mouth is a place where tradition meets innovation,” said the team at Frank Architecture. “They offer a carefree and interactive dining experience, featuring a dynamic and playful menu with modern and energetic flavours.”
    Wood panelling lines the rooms above built-in banquette seatingFor the interiors, the designers chose a warm palette of green and brown tones, along with textured plaster and soft upholstery to create an intimate atmosphere.

    “Inspired by Japanese minimalism, the interior takes a ‘less is more’ approach,” the team said. “The design is very restrained.”
    A trio of spherical lights hang above the central row of tablesA screen of wooden dowels divides the bar and dining spaces, adding to the sense of intimacy. The restaurant’s noodle maker can be seen working in the bar area, allowing guests to watch their food being prepared.
    Shelving behind the bar, which displays the sake collection, was built using wood salvaged during the renovation of the space.
    Green and blue upholstery complements the warm wood tonesAlong the sides of the main dining area runs built-in seating with blue-fabric backs.
    Wood panelling above is decorated with works by local artists Rhys Douglas Farrell, and Harry Kiyooka, who died aged 94 earlier this month.

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    Wooden tables form rows beside the banquettes, with an additional line through the middle of the room.
    Diners at these central tables sit on chairs covered in brown velvet corduroy, while other seats are upholstered in green fabric.
    Sake is displayed on repurposed shelves behind the barA trio of spherical, paper pendant lamps cast a dim glow into the restaurant, assisted by spotlights, fringed table lamps and candles in setting the mood.
    “Light levels are dimmed and offer a soft, even glow to diners,” the team said.
    Textured plaster walls and fringed artworks are found near the entranceFrank Architecture was established in 2009 by principals Kelly Morrison, Kate Allen and Kristen Lien.
    Along with Calgary, the firm has an office in Banff and was longlisted for interior design studio of the year at the 2021 Dezeen Awards.
    The photography is by Chris Amat.

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    Superette models playful cannabis dispensary on Italian deli

    Green and beige checkerboard flooring, deli props and tomato red hues feature in this marijuana dispensary in Toronto, designed by Superette’s in-house design team.

    Named The Annex after its location within the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto, the latest marijuana store by Superette is a 500-square-foot cannabis dispensary-cum-hangout space for local young adults.
    The exterior of The Annex cannabis dispensary has green and beige striped awningsIt sits a few blocks away from two college campuses, the University of Toronto’s St. George campus and George Brown College’s Casa Loma campus.
    For the new space, the company turned to the “convivial spirit” of the college canteen for inspiration, aiming to appeal to the student demographic walking through its doors.

    The same retro colour and pattern theme is continued inside”Taking design cues from the convivial spirit of the college canteen, The Annex offers a one of a kind experience where students aged 19 and above can conveniently purchase and consume cannabis, as well as work and socialize,” said the brand.
    “This highly nostalgic and immersive space is rooted in one of our favourite communities.”
    Marijuana paraphernalia and cool drinks are displayed on lime green shelvesFull of entertaining colours and quirky objects, The Annex’s floors are covered in green and white square tiles which match the awnings on the store’s exterior.
    Marijuana products are displayed on lime green walls and shelves while contrasting splashes of tomato red was used for the stools and hanging pendant lights.
    The designers drew on the nostalgic interiors of a classic Italian deliSuperette is French for mini supermarket and all of the brand’s shops take cues from retro-themed eateries like old school diners and bodegas.
    The Annex takes cues from an Italian deli.

    Superette cannabis dispensary in Toronto resembles a retro grocery store

    A deli counter at the back of the store contains an array of pre-rolled joints and different strains and strengths of cannabis, while stools designed to recall a canteen are positioned next to the windows.
    “All of our shops pay homage to similarly familiar and nostalgic retail environments from diners, bodegas, to flower shops, and subway newsstands,” said the brand.
    They hope that the jovial design attracts local studentsAlongside pre-rolled marijuana joints and cannabis, customers can purchase cannabis paraphernalia including bongs, ashtrays and lighters. They can also peruse a selection of other homeware items such as candles and mugs.
    A slew of dispensaries have cropped up in the city of Toronto following the legalisation of marijuana in Canada.
    Among these is a minimal store by architecture studio StudioAC that has sheets of industrial grating over the product displays and a dispensary with mirrored ceilings by Toronto-based designer Paolo Ferrari.
    The photography is courtesy of Superette.

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    La Firme reorganises centuries-old Montreal loft with contemporary finishes

    Montreal architecture studio La Firme has reorganised an apartment in a 1800s textile mill, using cabinetry to shape the new interior configuration.

    The Elmire Condo was completed for a young couple in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal area.
    “This project took a space in a mid-19th century building that’s been a textile mill, a Campbell’s soup factory, and finally a condo complex,” said La Firme, a local studio whose name means simply The Firm.
    The apartment is located Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal areaLa Firme left much of the original structure exposed, including tall, rough-hewn timber beams and brick walls with structural arches as passages between rooms.
    According to the studio, these original elements serve as a “counterpoint” to their intervention, which consists of a series of white oak cabinets that delineate that redefine the rooms, while offering an abundance of storage for the owners.

    La Firme left structural arches and brickwork exposed”These contrasting elements organise the space into a rectangular area for the kitchen and salon, and an L-shaped loft for the master bedroom and bath, with a combination gallery, conservatory and meditative space,” said La Firme.
    The studio was able to include two bathrooms as part of the renovation: one for guests and the other within the primary bedroom. Plenty of stone is used throughout the apartment, reflecting the owner’s passion for geology.
    The apartment features a raised salonWithin the ensuite bathroom, a wall is finished in Calcatta marble that was bookmatched to create a subtle geometric pattern with the veins of the stone. “Natural light comes in from the gallery space through a band of glass blocks, in a wink to 1980s condo design,” La Firme explained.
    The long kitchen countertop sits partially at bar-height, then transitions to table height due to a step in the apartment floor. “The kitchen embodies [the client’s] love of minerals and culinary passion,” said La Firme.

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    “Quebec’s geological richness is brought inside with the island countertop, a slab of Labradorite granite that extends into a table on a raised platform,” they added.
    Beyond the kitchen is the salon, which is raised a few steps higher, and enjoys clear views of the city’s Mont Royal. Within these steps, the architects included a concealed pull-out bed for guests.
    Contemporary elements contrast with the centuries-old buildingOpposite the kitchen is a counter with drawers offering flexible storage or a place to work from home.
    Through the brick arches is the conservatory, a secondary living area separated from the combined living room and kitchen.
    Two bathrooms are included in the renovation”The gallery/conservatory is the loft area’s raison d’être,” La Firme explained. “Bright and open, it puts on display the clients’ other great loves: an impressive collection of contemporary art and a space for playing music.”
    Besides the white oak cabinets and occasional stone accents, the architects kept to a relatively limited palette for the intervention.
    Other apartment renovations in Montreal include a 1920s unit that Naturehumaine renovated with curved walls and pale green cabinetry, and a residential extension wrapped in galvanised metal.
    The photography is by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard.

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    Toronto beach house by Odami resolves “contradictory” context between waterfront and city

    Canadian studio Odami has completed the interiors of a split-level home in Toronto, using light tones that nod to the nearby beaches of Lake Ontario.

    The Beaches House was completed for a client living near the city’s waterfront, which is lined with long stretches of sandy beaches.
    Odami’s design for the interiors drew inspiration from typical beach homes, while also offering a contemporary living environment in Canada’s largest city.
    The Beaches House takes cues from typical beach homes”Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood presents a peculiar condition within the city,” said the studio, led by Aránzazu González Bernardo and Michael Norman Fohring.
    “To experience the area is to seamlessly transition between a natural and calm landscape, and an urban and lively atmosphere,” they added.

    The split-level home is located in TorontoOdami’s interior palette features typical beach-inspired finishes, such as textured wall panels of varying widths, sand-hued countertops, and plenty of tropical plants throughout the home.
    Throughout the living space, light wooden floors and creamy tones offer a tranquil environment.
    A skylight illuminates the steel-and-wood staircase”Responsible for the interior design, our goal was to create a home which would reflect this contradictory context: a house which would belong as much to the city as it would to a beach far removed from it,” Odami explained.
    At the centre of the house, a skylight illuminates the steel-and-wood staircase, helping to brighten the interiors and draw visitors upstairs as they move through the home.

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    “The central staircase, which winds its way up through the split levels of the house, was detailed with thin steel pickets and floating treads, continuing the rhythmic language of the paneling,” said the designers.
    This calmer palette contrasts some darker materials that were used in circulation spaces, such as a grey stone in the entrance hallway, and a bathroom where the walls and floors are lined with a dark terrazzo.
    Odami added dark terrazzo elements to the bathroom”In the bedrooms and bathrooms of the last floor, the sequence comes to rest, as light, repetitive elements give way to moments of stillness, calm, and dense materiality,” the studio explained.
    Odami was founded in 2017 in Toronto. Other projects from the Canadian studio include a collection of wooden furniture that was crafted from the same dying tree, and a restaurant where the walls are lined with roughly troweled plaster.
    The darker tones contrast with the home’s lighter elementsAlso in Toronto, the Winter Stations design competition recently unveiled the pavilions for its 2022 edition.
    The photography is by Doublespace Photography.

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    Vives St-Laurent creates tactile Montreal home

    Interior design studio Vives St-Laurent has remodelled a family house in Montreal, Canada, using a grey colour palette, quartzite stone and white-oak furniture to create an interior that highlights the building’s architectural elements. More