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Is a restaurant's design more important than the food? The designer trio behind Calgary's most frequented rooms makes a compelling case.
Designers/Architects, Frank Architecture, Calgary
The next time you’re dining in Calgary, do yourself a favour and look beyond the plate of food that’s in front of you. What will you see? If you’re at Bridgette Bar, you’ll notice a 1960s-inspired collection of mid-century-modern furniture, macramé and your-grandma-will-think-it’s-cool emerald marble. If you’re at Model Milk, you’ll discover southern comfort food served in an industrial-meets-Mad-Men–style space (think wood panelling, leather banquettes and fur throws). Next door, Pigeonhole (named best new restaurant in Canada by enRoute magazine in 2015) boasts a Parisian wine bar/café vibe, and down the block at Anju you can feast on Korean tapas in a modern dining room that has subtle-but-gorgeous nods to East Asia.
Though each restaurant’s design and concept is distinct, all have been brought to life by Frank Architecture—the female-founded firm made up of Kate Allen, Kristen Lien and Kelly Morrison that has transformed Calgary’s dining scene into a mecca of locally influenced, design-oriented bars, lounges and eateries. And now, with plans to step outside Alberta’s borders (the team at Frank has been tasked with revamping the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s food and beverage spaces and are already working on projects in B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba), they’re well on their way to becoming a household name in Western Canada, and there’s no telling when—or where—they’ll stop.
FRANK ARCHITECTURE: FAST FACTS
Dish You’d Wait in Line For
“The Fermière galette at Suzette Bistro. I never order anything else.”—Kate Allen
Current Design Obsession
“Navy, raw chalky white and layered textured fabrics.”—Kristen Lien
“Design like you give a damn.”—Kelly Morrison