The design principle that minimizes detail is meant to permit the materials to speak for themselves. Sadly, the concept often results in block shapes devoid of aesthetic content. Not so at Toronto’s newly designed Park Hyatt Toronto.
Here the materials speak in cultivated accents and restrained tones. Walls clad with rift-cut oak stained a soft taupe, provide the warmth only natural wood can offer. (This is particularly apparent in the elevators where the textures of wall and floor are close.) The floors throughout are tiled with our own Ontario Eramosa Marble, a plum-pudding-patterned stone of light to dark taupe.
Brass wall panels and trim strips in the well-designed accent tables and case pieces are coloured a deep champagne. It blends so well with the other materials that transitions run smoothly between metal, wood and stone. Even the upholstery has subtle shifts between shade-perfect leather, velvet and cloth.
The contrast appears when one chooses to turn right to the hotel suite lobby or left to the restaurant, named Joni, no need for a surname when you recognize the Canadian theme running throughout.
In the suites there is an overriding look of French Deco. The coffee station and free-standing closet show the unmistakable influence of Jacques Emile Ruhlman, originator of the Annees Trente. Headboards, sofas and consoles reference Jean Michel Frank, who stripped Paris residences of their moldings to clad the walls in rift oak. He designed the furniture for Hermes that they still carry.
A small repeating theme, a lozenge shape with a lighter circle at one end, appears as the panel beside each door with a light disk above the suite number. The ovoid wood bench has an inlaid marble drinks-circle at one end. All are creations of Studio Munge who worked closely with the hotel team.
Turning left from the entry into the public area you meet Nordic design. The first impression is of exposed wood chair frames rounded in that Scandinavian way and a living room feel. “The heart and soul of the hotel has vibrancy and experiences for every moment of the day”, says hotel manager Bonnie Strome.
Joni Restaurant is sectioned left to right like our provinces. Bays of sofa, coffee table and lounge chairs run along the window. After the aisle, a row of tables with foursquare lounge chairs are separated by glass sculpture cases. The main dining area has well-padded Scandinavian chairs, a central section of full-comfort leather sofas opposite lounges, and on reaching the bar on the opposite wall, I was struck by the warmth pervading every design selection. The show piece is the staircase, lozenge in form, at its south end.
There, elevators take you to the Writer’s Room. Inside, the walls and furnishings of same-toned brown-red velvet and leather are under exceptional lighting. Those who recall special moments in the Park Hyatt cocktail bar will applaud its reinvention. That skinny terrace is now deep and grand and the view is a glorious expanse. Its mood equals any world class hotel and, today, sleek heaters and blankets invoke Switzerland.
From large elements to small, ideas are so judiciously carried through, I’m left with the impression of the thoughtful design of a sizable yacht.
A long standing member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Lois Macaulay holds a 1st place award for residential design 2018, 2nd place for 2017 and 2 presidential citations for contributions to the profession from ASID. “I love creating beautiful settings for extraordinary women--and men,” she says. The strong fashion/design connection in these posts owes its source to her first career as a fashion designer, coordinator and national fashion magazine editor.