Western Living Magazine
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Form Collective brings the sizzle to S+L Kitchen and Bar in Vancouver's South Surrey suburb.
It’s not often that a designer wishes for less space to work with, but that’s exactly how the team at Form Collective felt when they first stepped inside S+L Kitchen and Bar in the Vancouver suburb of South Surrey.
In the eyes of Josephina Serra and Lauren Webb, founding principals of the Vancouver-based design studio, the 3,850-square-foot room lacked distinct dining areas and failed to cater to the diversity of its patrons. “It was basically a big black-and-white box,” says Webb. “The ceiling was also really, really high, which made the restaurant feel cold and uninviting.”
So, the pair got down to work—literally. By installing a canopy of perforated metal circles above the bar and lounge areas, Serra and Webb lowered the ceiling height from a cavernous 16 feet to a cozy 10. Hanging foliage further grounds the space while also creating a sense of intimacy. “We really wanted to make it feel more like a living room,” says Webb. The result is relaxed yet refined, and perfectly aligned with S+L’s approach to dining: regular guests are made to feel right at home with their own personalized steak knives and a bottle-keep service.
Since the owners wanted to avoid a major renovation, the designers incorporated overlapping Flor carpet tiles and textured wall treatments to cover the existing finishes—and to add visual interest and warmth. The wall behind the host stand features a vinyl wrap with protruding wood pieces; the entryway is punctuated with gold panels, a greenery insert and a custom neon sign; the bar has recessed arches with zigzag-patterned tiles. “There’s a lot to look at,” says Webb with a laugh.
What was once a massive, monochromatic space is now a sophisticated steakhouse with plenty of sizzle. “We wanted to make sure there was something for everyone,” explains Serra. “That’s why we made it so eclectic.”
This story was originally published in the October 2023 issue of Western Living Magazine.
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