Barsa Taberna: a hint of Spain in the heart of Toronto

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The +tongtong studio recently completed an interesting project in downtown Toronto. The ground floor rooms of a building located just around the corner from the famous St Lawrence Market were totally revamped to create a Tapas Restaurant with an exquisitely Mediterranean feel.

The interior design project had to deal with the limits of this historic building, which is consequently protected by specific building restrictions. These restrictions, however, allowed a project to be developed in which the narrow spaces, exposed brick walls and the original windows and doors were enhanced and elegantly to become part of the actual design project.

The restaurant covers two distinct areas: a bar and an eatery.

The bar area has a concrete floor, onto which the studio applied a special pattern inspired by the shapes found in the architecture of Gaudì. The dining area on the other hand, was enhanced by the ceramic tiles created by Studio FM for DesignTaleStudio, the creative research laboratory of Ceramiche Refin.

The bar counter, in Corian has original bar stools created specially by the +tongtong studio, that resemble the “make-shift” chairs often found in the tapas bars in down town Barcelona.

The atmosphere is assured by 3 recessed LED lights embedded in an iron structure with external elements that ironically resemble bull horns. Directly in front of the counter, there is a small dining area. The red chairs here - all identical - create a sharp contrast to the asymmetrical bar stools: the geometric pattern on the floor is repeated in a large mural decoration, created using 1,400 bottles of coloured glass.

The archway in the exposed brick wall divides the bar area from the dining area: the dining area has low ceilings, wooden benches and no windows. In order to exploit the spaces to the full, lighting is provided by a large back-lit murales which is also inspired by the bull fights, and was designed jointly by John Tong and well-known artist Pascal Paquette.

The main design element in this area is the flooring: a tribute to the antique majolicas, with an amiably contemporary twist. The Frame collection by DesignTaleStudio is the perfect trait d'union between the antique walls and the expressive power of the back-lit murales.

The entire project blends in perfectly well with the revaluation project of the entire Market district and is a successful example of how the typical atmospheres of the antique Mediterranean hamlets can be recreated in a freezing cold city such as Toronto.

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