Design Crush: Virtuous Pie at UBC Wesbrook Village
The pizza joint’s newest Vancouver room is a bright, airy (vegan!) oasis.
With outposts in Vancouver, Portland and Toronto (the latter coming soon!), vegan pizza joint Virtuous Pie seems like it’s well on its way to becoming a nationally recognized chain restaurant. But you’d never know by looking at it. That’s because each location is designed specifically for the city/neighbourhood it’s in. “The Chinatown location [designed by House of Bohn] was developed specially for the context,” says Stanley Sun, partner at Mason Studio. “We took the same approach for UBC: ideas were drawn not only from the pristine natural surroundings, but the energy and vibrancy of the campus community.”
For Sun, that meant creating an environment that’s elegant and refined, but comfortable and relaxed enough for everyday dining. And, of course, the restaurant’s menu obviously came into play: “There is a purity to Virtuous Pie’s food (using high-quality ingredients that are familiar to most people but used and combined in a way that becomes distinct),” he says. “We did the same with the interior palette: a combination of readily available and accessible finishes, used in applications and proportions that are atypical.” Scroll through the photos below to take a peek inside the light, bright and airy space—and read on for all the design deets!
The team at Mason Studio combined Terazzo, stone, marble and brass for a dynamic materials palette; the black “wood” seen above the counter is actually an environmentally sensitive PaperStone finish made of pressed paper (meant to mimic what the restaurant’s vegan pizzas are served on).
Each seating area (booths and benches, high-top tables and bar stools) is meant to accommodate bustling students from day to night: “The different seating types allow customers to choose their preferred seating depending on mood and the type of day, from someone by themselves having a quick lunch to a small group of people going out at night,” explains Sun.
Stunning work from local artists (Sarah Delaney, Maia Boakye) can be found throughout the space: “Rather than having art as a decorative layer, [it was decided] in the early planning stages to have art as the focus,” says Sun.
“It was a perfect pairing for the food offering of Virtuous Pie,” says Sun of this three-dimensional piece by Lindsay Cohen—and of the restaurant’s vegan ice cream selection. “Only up close do you see what the objects are,” he continues. “This was important to us because we wanted to create interest in all areas of the restaurant.” (The art piece hangs on a wall that leads towards the bathrooms.)
The hanging plants bring a bit of the outdoors in—and contribute to the restaurant’s casual vibe: “We purposely used rigid forms so that the plants could be the element that softens the edges,” says Sun.