When designer Onifur Garcia of c8studio learned that the menu at Vancouver’s Wildlight Kitchen and Bar would celebrate West Coast ingredients, he immediately turned his attention to the great outdoors.

“We wanted the restaurant to be a microcosm of that environment,” he says, “so some of the things we looked to for inspiration were the sunsets at Wreck Beach, the forests at Pacific Spirit Regional Park and the shimmering waters of the Burrard Inlet.”

And it shows. Nearly every inch of this 2,500-square-foot restaurant is a reflection of B.C.’s rugged coasts and lush rainforests—“without being completely obvious,” Garcia adds. The wood installation above the bar and the airy pendants allow natural light to penetrate the room, similar to how rays of sunshine filter through a tree canopy. Meanwhile, etched partitions from Nathan Allan Glass Studios conjure images of rippling water.

“The materials we chose have a lot of texture or perceived texture,” says Garcia. “Every time you sit somewhere different in the restaurant, you get a new experience.” A mix of bouclé, linen and faux-leather chairs and booths contributes to this—as does the colour palette, which seamlessly transitions from blazing reds and warm wood tones at the bar to cool blues in the formal dining room.

That said, Vancouver’s natural beauty wasn’t the designer’s only muse. Garcia also looked at the connected Urban Fare grocery store for inspiration—and incorporated elements that would create cohesion between the retail and dining areas. Wildlight’s grey flooring is a subtle nod to the butcher block and cold stone surfaces at the store’s meat and seafood counters; in another area of the restaurant, a slatted window lets patrons peek into the kitchen (a unique idea suggested by the client).

“We knew there was going to be some magic happening in the back-of-house, so we wanted to provide an opportunity for guests to see that,” explains Garcia.

Wildlight table setting and tile details
Pattern Play
Garcia and team chose these wall tiles from the Kelly Wearstler collection for their organic pattern, which lets each patron have their own visual experience. The designer says that some people have compared it to the striations in a piece of fish; our writer sees tree rings.

Wildlight bar details