At the heart of Toronto’s vibrant Entertainment District, ICONIK introduces Akira Back to their highly anticipated hotel Bisha. Chef Akira Back’s namesake restaurant is a modern and glamorous expression of the Japanese dining experience.
Encased in stunning layered gold volumes, the entry from the hotel’s main floor leads guests though an extraordinary journey that ignites the imagination. A holistic statement of tactile finishes in black and charcoal tones and lavish materials balance the grand design features; an impactful cove ceiling canvas to a colourful custom graphic. The journey concludes at the destination sushi bar illuminated by layers of gold extending from floor-to-ceiling and immersing guests into spectacular statements of luxury. Studio Munge’s design pays homage to traditional Japanese dining while reinventing a distinguished culinary experience.
Studio Munge’s Principal, Alessandro Munge spoke to Premier Hospitality International about the project and its recent nomination at the Restaurant & Bar Design awards.
What was the brief for this project?
“Akira Back’s story is part of a much bigger picture. More than a restaurant, we created a culinary destination in downtown Toronto that excites and inspires guests from within a design focused and art centric Bisha hotel. Multi-layered and immersive, Akira Back’s design had to complement the hotel’s other F&B venues while distinctively embracing its own persona.”
When did the project start, and when did it complete?
“The conception of Akira Back began long before construction. A dream hospitality project of our long-time client and hospitality innovator, Charles Khabouth, Bisha has been a collaboratively creative commitment over the past seven years.”
Can you guide us around the site a little – if we were to walk in for the first time, what kind of things would we see?
“Akira Back is a journey that starts and finishes in glowing gold volumes. As guests walk into the building, they are carried upwards by a sculptural staircase in a dazzling gold leaf finish. The imaginative bold contrasts begin the moment the guest reaches the second-floor which reveals Akira Back’s dimly lit interiors featuring a jet-black furniture program, tactile leathered marble surfaces, and expressive columns. An undulating custom designed mobile pierces through the centre of the arched ceiling which is hand painted in indigo flower petals. Blackened charcoal wood cladding frames the destination sushi bar – a golden haven of culinary expertise glowing in dark.”
Were there any difficulties or challenges with the project?
“Located on Bisha’s second floor, the narrow floor plan presented an interesting challenge for our team. We had to design an entry that would excite rather than deter guests from taking the stairs upward, while Akira Back’s narrow dimensions allowed us to experiment with elements of light and dark.”
How important is this project for you?
“Every project, large or small, hotel or restaurant, public or private, is important to our studio. The dedication and passion that we pour into each concept, custom detail and final coordination is part of a larger contribution to the future of hospitality.”
How does it feel to be shortlisted for a Restaurant & Bar Design Award?
“To be shortlisted in the 2018 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards represents Studio Munge’s vision of pushing the boundaries of interior design through new and unique approaches.”