We believe in the importance of community gathering spaces. We were approached by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation to take on the restoration of Calgary’s iconic Simmons Building, what would surely become a key component of Calgary’s new “River Walk.” This complex architectural and interiors project included the architectural restoration of the history mattress factory and the interior design for three new tenants: Charbar (owned by Charcut), Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery.
We jumped at the chance to be involved in the revitalization of such a key piece of East Village. Simmons has proven to be integral to the rebirth of the community. It is the anchor of Riverwalk and became the first food and beverage destination in the developing community.
Though it seems like an obvious design idea, we wanted to differentiate the old from the new through juxtaposition. This proved to be perfectly simple and dramatic. New elements such as the elevator, door surrounds, floor opening structure and exit stairwells are black. New concrete is all stained black. It’s amazing the impact this simple design move has on understanding the building as whole.
The concept behind the interiors was a collaborative, interconnected space with three restaurant tenants: Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, and Charbar, a fine dining restaurant. Taking cues from an urban, market-style experience, our approach was to create a dynamic, fluid relationship between the three tenants. We created visual and functional connections between the three spaces, and blurred the line between interior and exterior experiences, encouraging guests to flow through the space and explore the building. This successful design plays up a sense of collaboration, and demonstrates the power of community.