Snapshot: Toronto’s new Bar Raval keeps the Art Nouveau spirit alive and evolving in a design reminiscent of early 20th century artwork and architecture. Canada based Architects PARTISANS tell a narrative that speaks of both passion for the almost forgotten and of the three owners who want to share it with others.
Canadian chef Grant van Gameren and associates / mixologists Mike Webster and Robin Goodfellow wanted to bring something new to spice up the nightlife on the streets of Toronto, and that thing just happened to be a 21st century rendition of Spanish Art Nouveau design. Canada-based architecture firm PARTISANS stepped in to create this vision, resulting in Bar Raval: a scene that captures the spirit of a Spanish Pintxo bar within the context of Toronto.
Amidst what can only be described as an entwining flow of seemingly continuous mahogany that wraps around the room, the all-encompassing wooden curves travel from the bar to the ceiling, to various nooks and sides that make for comfortable and interactive places to lean and sit. Making use of organic shapes, golden hues and a darker palette of earthy tones, Bar Raval takes after the philosophy of Art Nouveau in that it mimics nature in all of its dynamic curves and mesmerizing twists and turns. As Sunlight beams in through the rounded openings during the day, you slowly feel the effect of natural lighting as it slowly shifts to a more night-life atmosphere Specializing in tapas, Bar Raval has the perfect warm, underground atmosphere in which to enjoy an incredibly cozy night in Toronto.
Heavily inspired by the art movement, the bar of course alludes to tropes and iconic stylized imagery of nature that’s a staple to the era. Of course, it isn’t quite so cut and dry, as PARSITANS’ design also takes after something different: the owners. Sculpturally, the mahogany patterns resemble muscle tissue and in some points even paying homage to the tattoos of the three owners.
On top of twisting the elements to shape an authentic and personal story, PARTISANS also brought Art Nouveau to the 21st century on a technological level. Using digital tools unavailable in the past, the designers were able to reimagine the style in means purely modern, making alterations that interact with the buildings original shape for a minimalist effect that leaves an element of contemporary architecture ingrained within the Nouveau design.