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Finch Avenue Optomotry, Toronto, Canada

Issue 81 October / November 2014 : Retail : Store

Architect / Lighting Design: BORTOLOTTO

Bringing their sharp vision to the creation of an optometrist in North Toronto, Bortolotto have woven together sculptural architecture with layered lighting to produce an eye-catching, modern scheme.

When Finch Avenue Optometry first approached architectural practice Bortolotto in 2012 their brief was clear: to design a new premises that would express the practices commitment to both high quality eye care and contemporary style. In response, the Toronto-based architects created a visually stunning interior, modern and clinically sharp while at the same time fulfilling the functional requirements of a busy optometrists.

Bortolotto’s concept plays on themes of contrast, perception, light and the rounded shape of the eye. The newly built premises at 244 Finch Avenue West is a black-brick structure with a rolling art deco curve to its façade, a shape and style that is echoed and inverted within. The interior is a luminous white, accented by sparkling black details. The heart of the venue is a 2,260 square foot, double-height retail showroom and waiting area that sits directly behind the building’s curved corner. Its upper story is cut with a band of windows that draw daylight into this showroom space.

Entering the showroom, clients are immediately drawn to a prominent ocular ceiling feature. Inspired by the mechanics of the eye and depth of field perception, eight concentric rings cascade downwards, each defined by concealed white Senso Lighting LED strips. At its lowest point, the chandelier culminates in a mirrored centre, representing the pupil of an eye, while its uppermost ring has been given a blue hue by Senso RGB strips. The cool blue emphasises the sculptural form of the lower rings, which give the space an organic presence, while also illuminating the interior. The ceiling is also visible through the tall windows of the façade, creating a visual draw for passers-by and strengthening the practice’s high-end identity.

Tania Bortolotto, Principal at Bortolotto, explains that this centrepiece is essential to the success of the space. “The  lighting at the interior feature element is directly integrated into the architecture as a sort of inverted light house drawing interest and impact to the retail space,” she says. “Without this light there is no architecture.”

The displays that run along the walls of the showroom all maintain a clean and cohesive appearance, despite the daily shuffle of product or change of merchandise. The shelves are designed to unify their contents so that the shapes, sizes and colours of the glasses never overwhelm clients.

The main wall of the curved showroom space is lined by custom-fitted, white lacquer shelving. More Senso LED strip lighting, recessed into the underside of each shelf, provides a clean pure light, with more general illumination coming from Delta Light Minigrid trimless downlights.
The adjacent sunglasses display comprises rows of glass shelving backlit by I2 Systems LED wallgrazers to produce a brighter area, suitable for trying out the sunglasses on offer.

The new premis opened its doors in summer 2014 and has proved a success for both clients and staff. “Patients come in and are pleasantly surprised at the openness, the brightness, and the clean look and feel of the space,” notes Finch Avenue Optometry’s Dr. George Papadakis. “I have had comments like ‘It feels like a museum’ and ‘I never would have expected it to look like this on the inside’. I think that people really enjoy the time they spend in our office and like the fact that things are open and airy. The design has helped our business as it has made the flow of traffic a lot better and more efficient. The retail component has improved as it feels like we have more choices for everyone.”


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