The challenge of this project was to create an elegant interior for a new wine bar within the very long and narrow ground-floor space of a turn-of-the-century building that had only two windows at one end; the building's exterior curb-side front was to be converted to an additional seating area to be used seasonally. These objectives were to be achieved with a miniscule budget.
The design solution aimed to make the space appear larger by dematerializing the perimeter walls of the interior. First, the walls were entirely clad with mirrors (a costly material that was salvaged from the space's previous occupant). Then, new obscured-glass panels patterned with silver leaf were installed several inches in front of the mirrors. Concealed uplights placed between the mirrored and glass layers reflect light between the backs of the silver-leafed areas and the mirrors, causing the already numerous silver-leafed "squares" to be further multiplied and appear to float throughout the interior. In this way, the otherwise solid wall is broken down and given depth thereby creating a luminous, dreamlike interior; despite the space's shortage of windows, there is no "bad seat in the house." Silver-toned, shear fabric screens whose softness complements the glass walls, were designed to allow the interior to have the capacity to accommodate periodic, more private seatings, but to remain 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 illuminated from within by many wine-goblet lights suspended at various heights. Seen from the sidewalk, the patio appears as a giant, billowing lantern drawing in night-time urbanites.
"After hearing rumours that b/Side was open, we decided to check it out... The decor is modern, dark with great glass panels along the walls and an illuminated bar showcasing the wine on offer."
"The place is gorgeous... The muslin screens for the patio is particularly notable, it's beautiful inside as well."
Paul duBellet Kariouk (Principal)
Chris Davis (Senior Design Associate)
Susan Gardiner (Design Associate)
Cedric Boulet (Design Associate)
Josee Labelle (Design Associate)
Custom Glass and Fabric Work:
Sirois & Sons (Pierre Sirois)
Leibe Engineering (James Diamond)
Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde)