Project details

We needed to create an elegant interior for a new wine bar, but our client had a miniscule budget. 

The bar was located in the very long and narrow ground-floor space of a building that had only two windows at one end. The turn-of-the-century building also had an exterior space at the front that needed to be converted into an additional seating area for use in warm weather.

No Bad Seat in the House

Inside the bar, we decided to make the space appear larger by making the walls seem to disappear. First, we entirely clad the walls with mirrors (a normally costly material that was salvaged from the space’s previous occupant). Then, we placed new obscured-glass panels patterned with silver leaf several inches in front of the mirrors.

Concealed uplights placed between the mirrors and glass reflect light between the backs of the silver-leaf “squares” and the mirrors, making the already numerous silver shapes appear to be more numerous and to float throughout the interior. 

In this way, the otherwise solid wall is broken down and given depth, creating a luminous, dreamlike interior — despite the space’s shortage of windows, there is no “bad seat in the house”.

To accommodate occasional private seatings, we used silver-toned, sheer fabric screens whose softness compliments the glass walls. The space remained as open as possible for general use.

A similar strategy was used for the new exterior patio, which was wrapped in 10-foot tall silver-toned translucent fabric walls, and illuminated from within by wine-goblet lights suspended at various heights. Seen from the sidewalk, the patio appears to be a giant, billowing lantern in the night to entice passersby. 

An Atypical Solution from Typical Materials

With the interior of this small restaurant, we delighted in demonstrating an inventive spatial solution to numerous site constraints. Embracing the almost negligible budget, we transformed seemingly predictable, inexpensive materials to create a unique and memorable environment.


Ottawa, Ontario



In the media

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