HOSPITALITYDESIGN: VELA Debuts in Toronto With a Design From PARTISANS

Downtown Toronto has a swanky new item on the menu in the form of VELA, a restaurant from partners Amanda Bradley and Robin Goodfellow, with a design from local architecture studio PARTISANS. The space comprises such distinct areas as a champagne bar, lounge, bar and kitchen dining area, and additional intimate booth seating.

Half of the 4,000-square-foot space constitutes a covered patio, but inside combines dual inspirations: a flexible reimagining of 1930s and ’40s supper clubs and a starry night sky. “We wanted to create a venue that was both timeless and expansive in possibility,” says PARTISANS partner Jonathan Friedman.

The entry passage resembles a slot canyon carved by wind and water and leading to the champagne bar, while the center of the room features lush lounge seating, resembling a hotel lobby. Meanwhile, the concrete bar, kitchen, and dining counters were cast to resemble rock-eroded landforms, with leather and metal details accenting the raw materials.

But the molded ceilings featuring integrated LED lighting are the star of the show. “[It] evokes being under a starry night sky, while also providing acoustic dispersion for bands as well as lighting effects when the space is used as a performance venue,” says partner and cofounder Pooya Baktash.

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