The Drake Commissary, opened in June 2017, fuses the food production facility for Toronto’s Drake Hotel and the brand’s other hospitality properties with a 140-seat early-morning to late-night eatery, bakery, larder and bar. Located in an emerging neighbourhoodin Toronto’s west end, the Commissary creates a social hub for foodies and culture seekers alike. Throughout, a tongue-and-cheek mash-up of art and design exemplify the Drake style and establish a completely unique and animated environment.
Working with a historic brick-and-beam building (a former condiments factory), and drawing inspiration from the Commissary’s adherence to local and seasonal ingredients and made-from-scratch artisanal products, the design team established a front-of-house with a laid back and playful vibe. The space blends old with new, featuring a mix of vintage, craft and industrial elements, art and a liberal use of colour, pattern and texture. This 3,000s.f. space is defined from the 5,000s.f. commissary kitchen by a multi-paned glass partition, providing glimpses of the theatre of culinary activities: baking, pickling, curing, smoking, and sauce-making.
The interior design traverses the complexities of production, product display, retail and take-out service, mixed with full-service restaurant, lounges and bar spaces to encourage social interaction. The stainless steel and white kitchen is expressly industrial and utilitarian, while the front of house is deliberately quirky and composed. The team scoured antique markets for vintage furniture and accessories that were then reinterpreted, and enlisted local and international artists to create original installations curated to thematically contrast traditional craft techniques with multi-media art. The installations are always applied in a spatially integrated manner, shadowing the physical attributes of the space, directly on or in the furniture in some cases. Branding graphics unfurl throughout both the front-of-house and the kitchen.
Guests are greeted by a modern cafeteria-style bakery with cold and hot food counters clad in perforated metal and marble, a blending of industry and hospitality. Above, the ceiling is organized by a graphic matrix of custom-spun industrial green pendants suspended by aircraft cables, accentuated by wooden dowels. The restaurant and bar area is anchored by a curved, custom-designed plywood banquette with teal leather bread-shaped cushions, and slim armrests echoing the designer’s custom “one-arm stools” featured at the bar.
The retail, dining and bar area is connected to an additional lounge with a low flying plywood ceiling, punctuated with cutouts inset with perforated metal shades. Industrial scale tart tins are playfully used as a textured wall cladding. The result is intrigue at every turn, and an environment that is composed yet at ease with almost anything and everyone.
Outside is a 40-seat patio complete with a large projection wall and video projector, set in the middle of an industrial parking lot in the heart Junction Triangle, an emerging area with indie breweries, creative studios, and in the future, galleries, and mixed commercial and residential developments. Oozing with character from the outside in, the Commissary establishes a strong presence for both the venue and the neighbourhood.
1. One Arm Stool- Designed by +tongtong; - Gilmour Upholsteries
2. Custom Pendant Lights- Designed by +tongtong - Eurolite
3. Aircraft Cable - BLT Construction
4. Custom Banquette- Designed by +tongtong - Camilla House Ltd
5. Cork Wall Tile, Commissary Kitchen- Standard cork wall tile - Jelinek Cork Group
6. Table Lamp - Henley Table Lamp in Bronze - Circa Lighting
7. Metal Perforated Sheet - MNR Custom Metal Inc. - Ferrier Designs
8. Carpet Tile - Street thread - Taped off tile/ GT 197 - Mohawk Group
9. Wall covering - Dark Floral wallpaper - Ellie Cashman Design
10. Wood Working - BL Woodworking & Design
11. Vintage Furniture - Brimfield Antique Show & Market
12. 35 Foot Wall Mural, Lounge - Alex McLeod - “Ancient Hills” (2017)
13. Site specific textile installation, back lounge - Adrian Esparza – “Opened” (2017)
14. Digital fashion photography, back lounge - Maxwell N. Burnstein – “Millennial” (2017)
15. Gold plexi - glass and forsted resin sculptures inside vintage mirrored Cabinet, front lounge - Camille Jodoin-ENG – Myth Series (2017)
16. Select table top paintings, lounge - Dahae Song – “Objects of Affection” (2017)
17. Poetry Installation, the galley - Kevin Connolly, Poet – Poem excerpt, Xiphoid Process, “SONG (after Walt Whitman), part 52, (2017)