It’s what is on the inside that counts. No truer words have ever been spoken. Strolling through our fair city, it is impossible to ignore the style that has infiltrated our building interiors: restaurants, banks, shopping malls, department stores—even our work offices have bowed to the evolving standards of sophisticated architecture and décor. While we encourage all to get up, shake off the doldrums associated with this never-ending winter weather, and explore Toronto’s insides, we’ve also conveniently gathered some favourite examples of the most beautiful, charming, wild, and game-changing interior design. With a limited number of spaces, we’re sure to have overlooked your favourite, so leave it, along with any others, in the comments below.
Via Vai Pizzeria & Wine Bar
832 Bay Street
Look past the menu (no easy feat) and try to fully comprehend the interiors of this supernatural Bay Street ristorante. Towering walls splashed with colours; sommeliers scaling sky-high shelves of vino; an entire mural-sized façade of glass, offering unobstructed views for envious gawkers peering in, and enviable diners gazing out. This is must-see dining.
18 Tank House
Located in the picturesque Distillery District, this popular spot offers a cool and vibrant arena for your evening of authentic-meets-modern Mexican fare. The interior walls are replete with blazing murals of colour, while the contemporary accents offer a familiar feel of comfort and nonchalance.
190 University Avenue
The soaring space, utilized to utter perfection within its cavernous shell, and housing a delectable trio of Asian-fusion eateries, is one of the city’s brightest architectural gems. It is only natural that the interiors would get as much attention as the expertly crafted menus. Book yourself a table right now.
(Photo by T.Tseng via Flickr)
(Photo by lam_chihang via Flickr)
35 Tank House Lane
This popular French bistro in the Distillery District is a dream for those seeking both style and substance. Breathtaking in its finery, the pastel colours and warm decor are reminiscent of another time and place; the cobblestoned laneway connecting it to the outside world further exemplifies its charming Parisian flair. Dine in, or take out a delicious and pretty pastry, or two.
(Photo from Cluny’s Facebook)
ING Direct / Tangerine Café
221 Yonge Street
Billed as an interactive workspace environment for both Tangerine employees and clients, world renowned Toronto design firm II BY IV DESIGN created this sleek space across from the Eaton Center that offers coffee, LED lighting, Wi-Fi, and plush seating (upholstered in signature tangerine colour) for business-minded, socially connected millennials.
11 Duncan Street
Retro charm is the catch of the day at this downtown, Eastern Mediterranean spot. An exquisite amount of attention to detail (mosaic tiling, brass fixtures), accompanied by earthy undertones and a perfect trickle of natural light, blends beautifully with the outstanding menu and serene soundtrack.
Sid Lee Creative Services (Head Office)
36 Distillery Lane
Leave it to a creative branding agency to outfit their offices with enviable charm and sophisticated modern décor. A look that seems more five-star treehouse than workroom, Sid Lee’s employees—the luckiest pencil-pushers in the city—surely have little to complain about each Monday morning.
505 College Street
Blending together two drastic, yet eternally appealing looks (cedar closet meets Tolkien’s The Shire), this popular College Street hangout is a boiling pot of style perfection. Skip the inviting, covered patio and pick a snazzy seat inside. You won’t be disappointed.
Allen Lambert Galleria / Brookfield Place
181 Bay Street
The next time you’re on your way to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Clinic, or on a lunch break from your hectic, high-finance day job, take a saunter through the heavenly and award-winning Allen Lambert Galleria in the corporate house of Brookfield Place. Sky-high steel structures canopy the solemn walkways connecting alleys and avenues throughout the city’s downtown core.
The Shangri-La Hotel
188 University Avenue
Having received numerous design awards for its spa, lobby and restaurant, respectively, and being named to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2013 Hot List of new hotels, the downtown Toronto Shangri-La Hotel, replete with clean lines and warm tones, is an elegant amalgamation of business and pleasure. Too much scratch for an overnight visit? Camp out in the sleek Lobby Lounge bar, or plan a fanciful afternoon visit for high tea.
Beanfield Metroconnect (Head Office)
77 Mowat Avenue
A pristine heritage building retrofitted with soaring posts and spattered with minimalist furnishings, Beanfield Headquarters, in the heart of Liberty Village, is at first glance the perfect setting for a modern office space. With floods of natural lighting, and a veritable showroom of lustrous, no doubt ergonomically sound equipment, this is not a workroom as much as it is nirvana.
The Beer Boutique
120 Lynn Williams Street
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be a classier way to buy booze, this expertly crafted, beautifully curated marvel opens up in—where else?—Liberty Village. Another masterpiece by II BY IV DESIGN, the Beer Boutique boasts masculine touches (copper lighting, exposed brick) at the heart and soul of the space; a smattering of colourful beer cans and cases invigorate the visual palette, bringing forth life to an already delicious concept.
C5 Restaurant at the Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen’s Park
Say what you want about the controversial Michael Lee-Chin addition (you know, that massive aluminum extension that juts out of the otherwise serene Neo-Romanesque structure?), the temporarily closed restaurant housed within the expansive shell is (was?) pretty fantastic. The dining room offers radiant vistas; the sparse, delicately clinical mood is ideal for hushed, artful conversation. Another lasting impression from II BY IV DESIGN.
(Main photo from El Catrin)