Holt Renfrew Toronto
DESIGN burdifilek, Toronto
FIXTURES Unique Store Fixtures Ltd., Concord, Ont.
Holt Renfrew can trace its origins to a hat shop that opened in 1837 in Quebec. In subsequent decades, the company became renowned for its fine furs and, in more recent times, has evolved into a high-end apparel and accessories retailer.
So when it came time to renovate the first floor of its Toronto flagship on Bloor Street - which houses the cosmetics, fine jewelry, soft accessories, handbags and men's departments - Holt Renfrew entrusted design firm burdifilek with the task of creating an environment that not only reflected the retailer's rich history, but also took it to a new level.
"Our goal was to create an atmosphere that is an extension of Holt Renfrew's personality and prestige, and one that embodied its iconic and design-driven history," says Diego Burdi, burdifilek's design director. "The planning solution was to compartmentalize the departments while also creating exciting sight lines and encouraging exploration."
The other main ingredient in the renovation - what Burdi calls "the DNA of the design" - is the use of custom finishes throughout the 26,100-square-foot space. "By embracing exotic woods, a sensitive color palette and custom artwork and finishes, we created a sensory experience that is distinctly Holt Renfrew's," he explains.
In the fine jewelry department, for example, collections are presented under starfire glass on museum bases, with a backdrop of custom birch bark and alabaster finishes. In the men's department, collections are shown against imbuya wood, Lucite and stone display tables, with the fitting area outfitted in macassar wood and a fireplace.
In addition to Store of the Year, Holt Renfrew also won Grand Prize in the department store category.
Client: Holt Renfrew, Toronto - Peter Moore, director, design and construction
Design: burdifilek, Toronto - Paul Filek, managing partner; Diego Burdi, design director; Tom Yip, studio manager; Jeremy Mendonca, Indrajit Motala, senior designers; Young Suk Kim, designer; Tracy Morgulis, Mauro Lobo-Pires, senior CAD producers; Michelle Tang, junior CAD producer; Juliana Li, graphics coordinator-image presentation
Outside Design Consultants: Lightbrigade, Toronto (lighting); Moss & Lamb, Toronto (special finishes); Unit 5, Toronto (artwork)
General Contractors: PCL Constructors, Mississauga, Ont.; Structure Corp., Toronto
Architect: Young & Wright Architects, Toronto
Suppliers: Essential Communications, New York (audio/visual); Downsview Drywall, Downsview, Ont. (ceiling); Telio & Cie, Toronto, Primavera, Toronto (fabrics); Unique Store Fixtures Ltd., Concord, Ont. (fixtures, signage); Enmar Stone, Toronto, Maple Tile, Toronto, Sullivan Source, Toronto (flooring); Louis Interiors, Toronto (furniture); Lightbrigade, Toronto, Litemore, Toronto (lighting)