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Belos is a restaurant that revolves around music bringing people together. The restaurant serves as a space where local musicians can perform and show off their talents to the community. A large design driver for Belos is the community in which the restaurant is located in. It is situated in the Gastown district of Vancouver, Canada, which historically used to be Vancouver’s downtown. Gastown’s urban fabric features a lot of 19th and 20th century typologies, which Belos draws inspiration from, featuring a similar typology that integrates into the site while also referencing its historic roots.
But Belos also diverges from the typologies’ visual codes. One such moment is in its glazing. The large atypical street facing windows help performers interface with both diners inside the restaurant as well as pedestrians outside the building. The fully glazed enclosed space on the second floor on the other hand, serves as a space where diners have an increased connection to the site due to their exposure to it. Both moves expand the spatiality of the restaurant, bringing the outside in.
Another move that is not seen in the 19th and 20th century typologies is the way in which the dining rooms are arranged. The dining rooms are arranged in such a way that the second-floor dining rooms encircles the first floor, creating an atrium that offers views of the stage no matter where you sit, connecting the two dining rooms through the onstage performances.
The two spaces are not equal though, since the second floor is meant to act as a more private area and features quieter acoustics.
Spatial flow is also a major focus of the design’s layout. Intention was put into the creation of thresholds between spaces. Entering Belos, diners are greeted by a long hallway that travels to the back of the restaurant, creating a transition from outside the building to the lively first floor dining room. Another moment is at the end of the hallway, where the stairs to the second floor are located. Here, diners transition from the higher energy first floor dining room towards a quieter dining room that is signalled by their vertical movement up the stairs. Both thresholds rely on the creation of pathways of movement which signal a change from the outside realm towards a public gathering area on the first floor and then from a public gathering area to a more private one on the second floor. These thresholds help to ensure that each space feels distinct while maintaining a relatively tight floorplan.
Belos’ material palette also helps it integrate into the Gastown site. Referencing Gastown, Belos utilizes a lot of brick and ornamental framing elements. The grey colour of the brick and the brass framing of the street face windows ensures the restaurant has a contemporary aesthetic. Internally, the presence of the brick takes a back seat with statement gold light fixtures and green drywall and framing around the glazing which makes the spaces feel cozier and less industrial.
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