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We Miss Restaurants! Design Competition

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Jason Chen & Vivian Du

ID: 1508

Designer's Choice Award

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ID: 1508
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Located in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District, Sakura invites the city to gather, eat, converse, and celebrate in a tranquil environment. The sakura flower symbolizes a time of renewal and optimism after the ending of winter in Japanese culture. Juxtaposed within the busy streets of Toronto, Sakura provides a space for visitors to rest their minds from regular stresses experienced in their daily lives, and enter a place of peace and relaxation.

The atmosphere dims as large wooden partitions gently waft ambient overhead light from the entrance to the restaurant floor. Large oak wood partitions divide the high ceiling foyer into areas of conversation, as patrons can order drinks and food while relaxing in comfortable lounge chairs, encouraging conversation and bringing the community together. A single bright spotlight illuminates each lounge section, further encouraging guests to have conversation with others. The soothing environment consistently continues in the surfaces, fixtures, and furniture into the main dining area. The ceiling is dropped and more lighting is provided to serve a comfortable environment for traditional table dining.

A notable pattern within the architecture are the distinct oak wooden sculptural partitions to distinguish the different volumes of the interior: large wooden partitions divide an open conversational area, while dense vertical wooden slats surrounding the central dining area serve to create a rhythmic effect to encourage conversation around the table. The unique flooring throughout the restaurant is made from synthetic terrazzo and creates a seamless, non distracting appearance with dim lighting, but illuminates in deliberate areas with strong lighting, revealing a beautiful glossy finish.

Adjacent to the lounge, guests are invited to the bar by the intriguing backlit wine display. The wine glasses and bottles are illuminated by the strip lighting under the shelf, continuing along the vertical wooden slats to create a unique backdrop for the alcohol. The oak wood continues along the bar table with an epoxy coated wood countertop and the consistent vertical slats on the cabinets below, mimicking the design behind the wine shelf. The bar has dimmer lighting to enhance the backlit wine display and the strip lighting under the bar table, inviting guests to have a drink and create conversations.

The simple material board for Sakura is chosen to favor clarity in the narratives of each space within the restaurant: the oak wood partitions and wooden slats contrast the cool terrazzo surfaces to create a warm and calming atmosphere. Walls are painted black where wood does not exist to bring out the wood textures, creating a zen environment. The restaurant has no natural lighting from outside, but is enhanced by the decorative lighting that is deliberately placed within the main dining, lounge and bar areas, which provide more intimacy and privacy. Sakura is a unique restaurant that provides a relaxing dining experience, and serves the city’s hotspot for meeting new people.

Jason Chen & Vivian DuJason Chen & Vivian DuJason Chen & Vivian DuJason Chen & Vivian Du

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