Wash Ful­fill­ment


Azure - - SPOTLIGHT - WORDS _Eric Mutrie PHO­TO­GRAPH _David Dworkind

Stuffed pita is a dish best served to clean hands. En­ter new Mon­treal restau­rant Falafel Yoni’s play­ful cen­tre­piece: a sculp­tural com­mu­nal wash basin ready to cleanse grubby paws – and to rinse away what lit­tle tahini sauce din­ers haven’t al­ready licked off their fin­gers at the end of their meal.

“My plan with the own­ers was to in­vest in one fun fo­cal el­e­ment – the rolled­steel sink – and then keep the rest fairly sim­ple and af­ford­able,” says ar­chi­tect David Dworkind, who cut his teeth de­sign­ing stark but brash res­i­dences at the Mon­treal firm Na­ture­hu­maine.

While it may look straight­for­ward, Dworkind’s pared-back scheme for the 88-square-me­tre space in fact grap­ples with sev­eral com­plex chal­lenges, from a zon­ing re­stric­tion that lim­ited the num­ber of seats to just 12 to an un­even ceil­ing. “There were all of these dif­fer­ent bulk­heads left be­hind from years of bad ren­o­va­tions,” he says. “The place had plumb­ing and elec­tri­cal go­ing ev­ery which way.”

To keep to the project’s tight bud­get, Dworkind found his so­lu­tions to both prob­lems in off-the-shelf ma­te­ri­als. “A lot of ideas came to­gether on Home De­pot runs,” he says. “I just went look­ing for things with tex­ture that I could work to re­ally ac­cen­tu­ate the beauty of.” His hands-on ap­proach paid off: Us­ing steel, wood pan­els and cor­ru­gated roofing sheets, the ar­chi­tect suc­cess­fully el­e­vated low-cost fare into a gourmet ex­pe­ri­ence. david­dworkind.com

To unify the var­i­ous ceil­ing heights, ori­ented strand board pan­els be­came a se­ries of baf­fles. They ac­cent a new cen­tral bulk­head in­stalled to con­sol­i­date plumb­ing, wiring and light­ing. The restau­rant’s grey, white and ma­roon colour pal­ette was in­spired by a New Bal­ance sneaker that caught ar­chi­tect David Dworkind’s eye. Dworkind used red as­phalt roofing sheets to line the base of the restau­rant’s eat-at counter, con­fig­ured into a W shape. Ter­razzo floor­ing un­der­foot is the lone re­main­ing el­e­ment of the space’s for­mer life as a café. The restau­rant’s logo, a youth­ful char­ac­ter, was cre­ated by graphic de­signer and tat­too artist Dan Cli­man. In a bud­get-friendly move, bar coun­ters, light­ing fix­tures and even the bath­room soap-dis­penser holder were all laser cut from a sin­gle sheet of steel.

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