Architects: nkA (Nelson Kwong Architect)
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Architect team: Nelson Kwong, Neal Prabhu, Leroy Shum, Eline Lu
Collaborators: Red Box Design – Branding, Signage, Packaging Design, Graphics(Amy Czettisch, Tatjana Green)
Project area: 2,600 sq. ft.
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Abel Gill
A restrained approach to Nadège Patisserie yielded a refined interior of architectural interventions that are at once deferential and engaging. This duality reinforces the dynamic of the Patisserie juxtaposing the intimacy of the pastry display with the intensity of the open kitchen and surrounding social nodes.
The long, narrow proportions of the 2,600 sf Patisserie is reinforced by a floating ceiling running the length of the interior, drawing the patron in from Queen Street to the depths of the kitchen. This reading is reinforced by the clean lines of the white eating counter, floating wall and shelves which stand in contrast to the gray cavernous treatment of the interior’s shell.
At the heart of these elements the 20 foot long pristine white gallery-like display of pastries engages patrons in an intimate “slow-read” procession amidst the sights, smells and sounds from the open kitchen, neighbouring park, street activity and socializing patrons.
The Owners of Nadege Patisserie acted as builder to keep costs as low as possible for this start-up company. All construction detailing was developed in collaboration with the owner/builder to suit their level of construction experience and budget. The designers engaged in an exercise of restraint in design concept integrating functional aspects to create multi-sensory experience through minimal architectural interventions.
Transparency and fluidity is defined within the space by linear elements which reinforce sightlines directly connecting street-front to kitchen. Through minimal architectural means, a multi-sensory experience is created for patrons where design allows simultaneous experience of sounds, aromas and energy of kitchen contrasted by the pristine pastry display. This restrained approach to architectural interventions engages patrons in an experience focused on pastries and production.
Stemming from experiential juxtaposition between a “slow-read” display of pastries and intensity of kitchen, the project is defined by a language of contrast. The existing interior shell is treated as a gray cavernous void within which clean linear elements run the length of the long, narrow space. The existing wood floor revealed during demolition was preserved as “archaeological” artefact, adding warmth and contrast to the crisp lines of minimal architectural interventions. The uniform tactility of a floating wall, shelves, eating counter and display elements provide contrasting backdrops to finely crafted pastries organized under a ceiling plane anchored by the kitchen at one end and storefront front display shelves at the other, tracing the path from production to consumption.
As a direct result of the owner’s needs the seamless, neutral finishes and clean detailing of the Patisserie allow focus to remain on pastries, patrons and surroundings, experiencing brand by allowing food and kitchen to be centrepiece. The result is a deferential yet engaging experience where design contributed to a rapidly growing business with a strong following from individual to corporate patronage by re-establishing an iconic Queen Street West landmark under new light. The site is transformed into an atmosphere where patrons are in the kitchen and chef is among the people – transparency of process.