To wrap up this serialized essay about how furniture functions as a key design element in DesignAgency’s interiors for The Broadveiw Hotel Café, we were able to ask Matt Davis – Founding Partner at DesginAgency – a few questions about the project.
Whitestudiolo [Karen White] – I think that the interiors at The Broadview Hotel are really successful. Congratulations! I’m currently writing about the Café interior with a special focus on how furniture functions as a key design element. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions.
Overall, one of the things that impresses me about this project is your support for and collaboration with local designers, makers, and artists. In terms of furniture, I noticed that you used Toronto-based Coolican & Company’s Adelaide bench in blackened oak for one of the Café’s two threshold waiting areas. Are there any other examples of furniture that was locally-sourced or that features local creative collaboration?
DesignAgency [Matt Davis] – Yes, we love collaborating with local artists to produce original pieces. In addition to the ones that you’ve mentioned, we worked with local lighting designer Anony on the installation of their Plumb Pendant prototype in the reception. Also, we worked with American artist Erik L. Peterson on the concept for the neon light. Also this fixture’s fabricator was local and the grandson of the person who made the original New Broadview Hotel sign.
In addition to collaborating with artists, we also try as much as possible to work with local fabricators and suppliers including Viso who was responsible for manufacturing several of our light fixtures, and Quince Flowers and Beech Nursery who created the floral arrangements and the potted plants. Rollout designed the custom wallpaper in the cafe — which was inspired by vintage wallpaper that we discovered during the interior demolition.
In addition to all these collaborations, DesignAgency also custom designed several custom pieces for the hotel including the reception bench, several light fixtures, and the headboards.
Whitestudiolo – I enjoyed your specification of the TON café chair No. 14 and marble-topped café tables as a memory cue for 19th century European café heritage. Can you tell me more about how you see furniture working at an idea level in this project?
DesignAgency – The building’s historic architecture and its varied uses over time inspired us with the opportunity to explore and reference its various phases and styles. We imagine the cafe capturing some of these early European influences and embracing a bit of a classic cafe style, ornate moldings on the ceiling and replicating the original wallpaper…and then we gave this space a few twists by adding industrial columns, the brass shelving cantilevered off of brass poles and the suggestive neon light sculpture.
Whitestudiolo – At the back of the café there is a large area that combines harvest tables, white farmhouse chairs and two-tone dining armchairs. This seems like a deliberate contrast to the European café scenario evoked in the adjacent zone. Can you tell me more about this contrast?
DesignAgency – We really wanted to make this space feel lived in and layered, not frozen in one style, time or place. That’s why we’ve mixed in harvest tables and two-tone spindle chairs and the lounge area is intentionally placed to help reinforce the eclectic layered and built up over time narrative.
Whitestudiolo – Do you have any further comments about how furniture design factored into your process for this interior?
DesignAgency – We have included some very deliberate yet subtle conversation pieces into the mix of furniture such as the 1950’s print lounge sofa in the cafe, and the floral print dining chairs surrounding ostrich print table tops that you’ll see in The Civic. Our Sling Bench in the reception, wing back headboards, floral print slipper chair (that perfectly matches the wallpaper), and our mid-century clam shell bar chairs are just a few of the pieces mixed and matched to create a rather curated and amusing narrative.
Whitestudiolo – The brass and leather bench in the Hotel lobby is fantastic! Could you tell me more about its design?
DesignAgency – The Sling Bench started as a sketch which I crafted when stuck trying to source the perfect piece to define the hotel lobby. I wanted something that felt in part vintage and familiar yet also new and relevant. I came up with its form thinking of a bench that could be crafted from a minimal palette (brass, leather and marble) with a very simple frame.
Whitestudiolo – I understand that DesignAgency is also working on the main floor restaurant, The Civic, due to open this fall. Could you tell me a bit about how furniture for that project ties in with the theme?
DesignAgency – This space will have more of a classic tavern feel with darker tones and richer colours. The furniture will have a bit more weight texture, suggesting a longer, more involved, and multi course dining experience.
Whitestudiolo – Thanks very much!