Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects projected the Osteria Ciceria e Tria restaurant based on an age-old model of italian hospitality: the family-run tavern.
The restaurant seats 60 and promises an intimate experience, a perpetual “dinner party” where gastronomic specialties and exquisite wines change daily, according to the food in season as well as the “whine” of the host.
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the atmosphere is at once intimate and sociable, a dinner party where all guests share the same table and the same food. Visitor entry through an artisanal storefront, however once inside, they found a modern rustic with surfaces of reclaimed woods and stripped boards routered with “machined” precision, inlayed with crisp steel and punctuated with powder-coated industrial components.
The focal point of the interior is the long, central communal table, where 20 can indulge in common amusement and interaction between strangers, as well as between host and guest in encouraged. Whit a slight adjustment of its sprint-loaded lamp, the flower-covered pasta making butcher block by day becomes the 8 person family dining table by night, still carved with the secret recepi of Ciceti e Tria, the dish for which the Osteria was named.
All the elements of the design have been custom made, with the exception of the chairs, stools and yellow, industrial lights. You can read the description of the different elements after the photos.
Branding Graphics by Small Design / Andrew DiRosa
Photos by Ben Rahn, A-Frame
Here are the description of the different elements:
The exterior is a custom steel storefront frame with fluted glass windows, designed to harmonize with the appearance of the vintage 19th C. building facade while maintaining a contemporary freshness. The windows are arranged in three horizontal bands; the top and bottom bands are modeled to obscure the view into the restaurant, while the centre band is left clear allowing patrons to see out and passersby to see in. The full width of these two centre windows, on either side of the door vestibule, open into the restaurant in favourable weather, directly connecting the party inside to the street and its city outside.
Entry into the restaurant is through an intimate wooden vestibule. Made of reclaimed 2″ thick solid, pine timbers fastened to a structural steel collar, the vestibule acts as a channel from the outside to the inside, focusing attention on the central communal table upon entry. It also provides critical enclosure and distance from entering patrons for the two storefront tables, made of reclaimed wood and custom industrialized steel legs, one on either side of the door. Walking through the vestibule itself, visitors are greeted by a row of small portholes, obscured by translucent family photos on both sides of the glass door.
Patrons first encounter a large block of solid slate, displaying the ever-changing menu and initializing the 20ft long communal table. Made of reclaimed Douglas Fir timbers, the 4 inch thick table is supported by a continuous steel spine and five steel angle supports. The same structure which supports the table also anchors the slate slab. Seating 20, the communal table evokes an assembly-line work space, not least due to the yellow, powder- coated, “off the shelf” industrial lights illuminating it. The lights themselves are moveable, and can be reconfigured along the tavolone to either centralize or disperse light, depending on the number of guests, arrangement, or activity taking place around the table. At each place setting, the table edge has been inscribed with a traditional, Italian name with the intent of personalizing each guest’s visit; rather than identifying patrons by table or booth number, they are identified by persona. The chairs around the table are traditional Italian thrush-seat chairs.
The peg wall organizes the functional side of the restaurant, housing the bar, kitchen area and wine storage, while fully engaged with the “served” spaces of the restaurant. A fully adaptable utility wall, it can hold and display all that is required – in this case wine, deep storage, display storage and cold storage. This custom wall of reclaimed solid Pine boards is made up of pegs, shelves and holders for storage/display items. Due to the uniform distribution of crisply cut slots, pegs and shelves can be reconfigured as needed. Along the top of the wall appear the words “nord” (north), “centrale” (central), and “sud” (south), and the wines are organized according to their corresponding region of Italy. Also displayed along the length of the wall are old photos, cooking utensils, pottery and a few requisite paraphernalia.
On the wall opposite the peg wall is a representation of the Giro d’Italia, Italy’s famous cross-country “Grand Tour” road bicycle race. The mural offers a topographical display of roads and stages throughout the race’s famous climbs in laser cut steel-plate. This is complemented by a row of custom-designed “bicycle lamps”, so named on account of their structure, derived from the shape of a bicycle frame. Like the central yellow lights, these too can be reconfigured according to the seating of the day, dispersed to illuminate the custom trestled tables separately, or centralized when the tables are pushed together.
Made of 4 large marble slabs, each separated by a sheet metal plate with two-toned, sandblasted pattern, the bar houses the coffee station (and kitchen beyond) as well as a custom refrigeration unit displaying the fresh pasta, prepared daily, in-house. The marble passes into the refrigeration unit creating the appearance of a solid block of stone, around which the serving staff circulate, from kitchen to table.
This custom, butcher-block table behind the bar has multiple uses. In the mornings, it serves as a surface for the daily preparation of pasta; during the rush, it functions as a chef’s table, also allowing patrons to sit while waiting for a seat in the dining area to become available. As the mid-day meal preparation wraps up, it is used as a staff dining table, and in the evening a more formal eight-guest dining table. Made of reclaimed maple, sanded and oiled, the table’s edge is inscribed with the recipe for the Osteria’s namesake: Ciceri e Tria. The table is illuminated by a custom designed “task light” constructed out of aluminum spun lamps and a black steel accordion spring. The accordion spring allows it to be lifted or lowered as needed, depending on whether the table is being used for working or dining.
BACK OF HOUSE
The large black slate chalkboard at the rear of the room, featuring the ever tweaked wine list, opposes the slate slab at the front. It is hung next to the wait-station and acts as a terminus to the peg wall. The custom wait- station is made up of a wood base and steel structure, supporting marble shelves which appear to float against the blackness. Behind the wait-station, the corridor leads to the kitchen and washroom and features a linear, cyan mural: a mapping of the major train stations of Italy. The travel theme continues into the washroom where visitors are confronted with two large photos of the interior of the Stazione Centrale train station in Milan, bringing the public into the most private of settings. The washroom also includes a custom, one-piece stainless steel mono-bock simultaneously containing sink as well as compartments for paper towel and toilet paper. An imperfect doily-patterned border is cured into the concrete floor of the bathrooms and corridor, extending the hand-made tone of the space.
Special thanks to Naomi from Kriss Communications