The project began with a client’s request to create a space for Japanese brand LeTAO that would tie seamlessly with the local neighbourhood and meet the brand’s reputation for excellence.
Explorations of the manufacturing process that creates LeTAO’s signature cheesecakes and cookies were an influence in the design process. They are baked in moulds with paper lining and the richness and texture of wrinkled paper is a recognizable trait. They resonated with the processes used to build the neighbourhood. Poured concrete sidewalks and trowelled roadways relate to the textures of baked goods in this interior.
Treats are displayed on a plinth in the centre of the space. Above the plinth, a suspended illuminated fabric structure directs attention to the display.
The surrounding walls are lined with a steel frame display shelving system that is lit from above with extended wall-mounted lights. Service counters are clad with fabric textured concrete. The richly coloured and patterned terrazzo floor is a remnant of its former tenants. Blue and sand are the colours that fill the space. Blue stained wood offsets the cream coloured cheesecakes on display. Every element is selected to provide a new texture, colour, or surface. The rich mixture of surfaces is the palette on which the aroma of cake and the texture of cream meet.
Display shelves and fixtures are designed as an extension of street furniture by using concrete and A-frame signs (characteristic of Toronto sidewalks). Linear shelf frames along the exterior wall obscure views to the street. The amplified haptic experience continues on the street.