Design Crush: The Minimalist—But Welcoming!—Bauhaus
Concrete, brick and leather make a beautiful team.
When you name a restaurant “Bauhaus,” the design direction isn’t exactly going to be a puzzle. But the simplicity of the German modernist design movement is deceptive—it takes a lot of thought to create minimalism that’s still welcoming. So designer Andrea Greenway was a smart choice to take on the Vancouver room; as her previous work demonstrates (West Oak, Nosh Cafe) she’s got a knack for creating warm, stylish restaurant spaces.
Working with a heritage building in Gastown gave the project a few challenges. “We had to work around bank safes, beams and brick—things that aren’t necessarily part of German modernism,” says Greenway. These obstacles, though, were embraced, not covered up. “We wanted to respect the architecture of the space—the brick, the sandstone and the steel columns are so cool. The safe even has bullet holes in the top,” the designer explains. “So we worked to balance everything by putting elements in that could speak to both design languages.”
That meant bringing in leather seats, which relate to the brick walls as much as the Bauhaus-style tubular steel chair frames. Linear lights—custom designed in collaboration with Matthew McCormick—are rigid and angular, but offer a soft light that gives the whole restaurant a beautiful glow. In fact, they’re Greenway’s favourite part of the space. “I truly believe that there’s an intrinsic sense of balance you need to hit, so that when guests are in the space, they feel peaceful and sexy,” she says. “You can put in the most beautiful materials but if you don’t have proper layered lighting it falls flat.”