Toronto, Canada
Posted September 6, 2001

Dewy tones and high-tech materials create a warm yet urban feel at Rain, a new 4700-square-foot restaurant in Toronto. Set in an industrial-style office building (formerly a women's prison), the space presented several challenges. First, the restaurant's original entrance was at a corner of the building, far from the striking stone-arched main entrance. So designers at II BY IV (Toronto) won Historical Board approval to close the secondary doorway and modify the primary entrance and lobby area. The doorway was replaced with a large window expanse, and reclaimed brick was used to match the existing facade.

Design elements throughout create a misty lakeside feel with a high-tech twist. A glossy, pebble-finished wall rises above a steel trough of river rocks in the passageway to Rain, and large bamboo canes flank the frosted-glass revolving door. Inside, two 10-foot chandeliers center on a 50-foot pebbled wall that is lacquered to a wet shine and fronted by two full-height cascades falling into narrow trenches of river rock inset in the concrete flooring. The dining room features a long, bar-height communal table in stainless steel and frosted glass. Elsewhere, black vinyl seats and white tables are set against a white-painted, theatrically lit brick wall.

Design Team: II BY IV Design Associates Inc., Toronto -- Keith Rushbrook, Dan Menchions and Jenny Lee, design team

General Contractor: ICI Construction Ltd., Toronto

Outside Consultants: ESTI Consultants, Toronto (mechanical and electrical engineer); Atkins Van Groll Engineering, Thornhill, Ont. (structural engineer); HGC Enginering, Toronto (acoustical engineer)

Suppliers: Louis Interiors Inc., Toronto (custom furniture); Kiosk, Toronto (bar stools); Stretch Ceiling Barrisol, Toronto (ceiling feature); Matrix Metal, Toronto (metalwork); Vast Interiors Custom Glass & Mirror, Concord, Ont. (glazing); Studio B, Toronto (bubble chairs); Vimax Consultants, Toronto (slatemax walls for water feature); Alpha and Omega, Mississauga, Ont. (structural steel); Granolite Co. Ltd., Toronto (pebble walls); Maharam, Hauppauge, N.Y. (fabric); Italinteriors, Toronto (dining stools); ISA Intl. Inc., Toronto (custom dining tables); House of Bamboo, Toronto (bamboo); Bang and Olefsun, Jutland, Denmark (stereo equipment); Ma Zone Home Décor, Toronto (accessories); Rafael Painting, Toronto (paint); Stalree Cabinets & Millwork, Toronto (custom millwork); Litemore/Eurolite, Toronto (light fixtures)

Photography: David Whittaker, Toronto