Guu Izakaya by Dialogue 38

Dialogue 38 designed the Guu Izakaya restaurant in Toronto, Canada.

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Guu Izakaya by Dialogue 38

HISTORY + BACKGROUND
GUU is the Vancouver inception of an authentic Japanese izakaya (aka: pub) and has generated a loyal following. This drinking establishment serves traditional and fusion food to rowdy crowds, from university students to office workers and the ‘in-the-know’ Vancouver expats.

SITE + LOCATION
Sitting at the abrasive intersection of Church and Gerrard, GUU makes its much anticipated Toronto debut, nestling itself innoculously among the streetscape  though exuding its refined personality and style. The smooth platinum gray slate storefront with contrasting heavy weathered wooden door sits prominently, yet ever so modestly, to block out the overlooked strip mall in which it occupies. The windows are minimized to limit the exposure of the garish exterior surroundings.

INTERIOR DESIGN
The small and intimate space is intended as an informal eatery. Seating spaces are tight and informal, the bumping of elbows is not uncommon, nor are the conversations between strangers in this watering hole. Communal tables and benches stimulate interaction and bar seats offer front row action of the entertaining chefs in the bustling open kitchen. This unique exposed kitchen concept and layout works fluidly with the unusual GUU experience where the chef and staff joyously and exuberantly greet every single person entering and exiting the establishment constantly as the afternoon spills into the late nights, to maintain a perpetual energy infused atmosphere.

Maintaining the informality and dimly lit space are an assortment of exposed bulbs hanging at various heights. In addition, there are custom creations of refurnished materials and compliment the reclaimed barn board that is used throughout the space. The exhausting activity within the space is contrastly striking  to the overall interior as it has been formulated around the simple clean lines of traditional Japanese design. In addition, the juxtaposition of raw and new materials creates a modern twist on the zen interiors. The simple platinum slate tiles are organized in a grid like manor, with varying protrusions to create texture  and shadow. A continuous wall-to-ceiling structure of reclaimed wood wraps one end of the venue to designate a quaint area for those who seek a mild sense of privy. For smaller intimate tables, the establishment offers a platform niche along the only bank of windows of the space revealing a quiet residential treelined
street.

Since it’s opening, the reviews of the food and atmosphere have garnered accolades among the press and food fanatics alike. While the neighbourhood has been revived with the addition of this streetscape gem as lively and hungry individuals flock outside all evening, anxious to calm their cravings.

Visit the Dialogue 38 website – here.

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Luminaire – November 2017 – Fritz Hansen T-No. 1
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