PARTISANS recently designed ‘Gusto 501’ for acclaimed restauranteur Janet Zuccarini – known for restaurants across North America, such as Felix Trattoria in Los Angeles. The new Italian-fusion restaurant in Toronto’s hip east-end neighborhood is a striking contemporary landmark in the industrial neighborhood, featuring numerous original and intelligent design details.
The restaurant’s facade is a massive wall of glass that ‘hyperglides’ to open and create natural ventilation for the restaurant, which is framed by two walls made of terracotta and steel. Inspired by Zuccarini’s Italian background, PARTISANS worked with terracotta to make a major statement for the interior’s aesthetics. Using complex software models, PARTISANS cut the brick in angles of six variants creating a unique undulating, corbeled effect, in which lighting is carefully placed throughout.
The confined lot space of only 30 by 60 feet offered the studio a challenge to go against the status-quo of restaurant design – by building up. PARTISANS created five distinct dining spaces for the 280-seat restaurant with new experiences, different sightlines, and culinary programs across four floors.
The ground level features a sidewalk terrace and main dining room with its open pizza oven, woodfired grill, and take-out window; while the mezzanine features a wine bar – partially veiled by dark metal mesh screens – overlooking the dining room below.
The second level is a light-flooded cocktail bar with a bridge to the ‘Attico’ – a private chef’s tasting room with a dedicated kitchen. Above it all is a roof terrace where guests can enjoy beverages and light snacks as well as west-facing views of Toronto’s iconic CN Tower and the city’s skyline.
Photography: Nic Lehoux