Western Living Magazine
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Frank Architecture and Little Giant Studio collaborate on a '70s-influenced mountain retreat.
there’sno shortage of breathtaking views in Banff’s great outdoors, but the Calgary-based designers at Frank Architecture and Little Giant Studio set out to create an indoor experience worthy of that stunning mountain landscape. “Because Banff is a tourist destination, we wanted to create a space that is fun and memorable,” says Kelly Morrison, principal at Frank. And nothing says fun and memorable like karaoke.
The project was a restaurant for Banff Hospitality Collective: “A Japanese barbecue in the mountains,” Morrison calls it. Aptly named Hello Sunshine, the 6,130-square-foot eatery is flooded with natural light and has a decidedly warm and welcoming vibe. there’stexture everywhere, from the handmade ceiling textiles to the natural flagstone bar to the cedar shakes above the warm wood benches.
“We have a lot of cedar board that clads the walls, as well—it just gives you that feeling of being in a ski chalet,” says Morrison. Two massive fire tables add to the retreat-like atmosphere: they bring heat to the interior, but also act as a beacon to passersby.
Because of its impressive square footage, the designers divided Hello Sunshine into complementary zones. “You can go to the restaurant two times and have two completely different experiences,” explains Morrison. Sitting at the main bar, for example, you can take in the funky, seemingly abstract geometric art while you’ve having a drink, but sit a bit farther back in the banquettes and you’ll realize that the haphazard shapes actually create a mural. For a weekday lunch, there are communal tables splashed with sunlight. For Saturday night, there are two private karaoke rooms decked out with lava lamps and a ’70s-inspired carpet.
The restaurant mixes classic, cozy mountain materiality with psychedelic fun, creating a space that’s ready to be explored. “Discovery is the central part of a guest’s journey through the space,” says Morrison. “It’s meant to feel organic and meandering; the restaurant unfolds as you move through it.”
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