ODIN CAFE + BAR
150 s.m. / 1,725 s.f.
Commercial, Hospitality, Retail, Restaurant, Cafe, Bar
Odin Café + Bar is located in downtown Toronto’s east end, where the recently reclaimed industrial lands of the City’s new Canary District meet older main streets and their adjacent single family homes. The café and bar hybrid is a direct response to this rapidly-developing neighborhood’s growing and diverse needs, spurred by an influx of young professionals and urban dwellers. Odin and its design embraces the neighborhood’s newly refined industrial aesthetic, along with the changing culture of how people eat, drink, work and socialize; and, the playful complexity that comes with the day to night transformation.
The planning efficiently works with the existing space; a concrete box with expansive glazing on two walls. Structural columns break the space down the middle, naturally defining the front of house between a high foot traffic bar and relaxed, low table seating. Bar-height seating at the column line replicates the mass of the columns at a human scale, and creates a subtle transition between standing and seated patrons. A language of intentionally sculpted facets and folds was driven by the practical need for a generously malleable approach that could adapt to the less than ideal shifts and changes that occur in a fast track process where construction began prior to a complete design resolution. Composed of Corian and plywood panels over horizontal and vertical plywood ribs, the language transforms to unify the numerous café program elements. The result is a singular form that transitions between monolithic sculpture and its expressed skeletal framework; ultimately, simplifying the design while maintaining a dynamic and nuanced expression of the various performing parts.
Bar equipment is fully cloaked behind a solid object that is heavy and grounded against the concrete floor, its form gesturing to emphasize various interactions and distinguish between standing and seated areas. The seemingly monolithic form transforms, revealing itself as individual panels over the simple, vertical, and horizontal structure providing its form. This exposed structure serves as a practical shelving solution integrating retail, sound equipment, and overhead storage. In one direction, the wall returns to its solid form before wrapping the rear service spaces. In another direction, the wall transitions into an open canopy overhead giving the space a more intimate scale. A greater density of wood members cost-effectively conceals overhead mechanical services, houses lighting and security, and provides acoustical relief for the space.
As the ceiling moves away from the back bar, it drops down placing emphasis on the bar area then returns to its full height, breaking apart to create a directional pattern that draws the eye out towards the street during the day, and in from the street at night. The ceiling pattern dissipates towards the corner glazing joining the bar and seating areas back into a single space. Cool temperature lighting augments the sunlight during the day, and at night, warms to create an inviting glow, visible from the street. An integrated lighting solutions further performs; bringing a sensual feel to a practical solution that supports daytime and intimate evening activities.