Cho - Chorito - Chosabi ... a new asian eatery experience.

XxThis past fall Design Shop had the pleasure of working with some exciting new clients – Cho Venevongsa and Tracy Chen, from the Wasabi group. The couple wanted to open a new restaurant concept that focussed on delicious and healthy grab-and-go Asian food. Luckily for us we had been frequenting Wasabi (A. Lot.) and had a common friend who thought we would be a good fit for the business savvy couple - yay for us!!

After meeting with Cho and Tracy and understanding their business strategy, we got straight to work to bring their eatery dreams to design reality! Our goal for Chosabi’s overall brand was to create a fresh and urban look and feel that spoke to our owners personalities and the diversity of the menu to be.  We had to ensure their brand touched every layer of their business and spatial experience. From the logo we created, to the koi fish concept we developed, details on the coffee cups, window vinyls, custom tables, new millwork - each detail was considered for maximum branding impact.

Brilliantly located and with noteworthy neighbours (Bronuts and King + Bannatyne) the new Chosabi space showcased an amazing sightline looking onto the old market square. It was this view we intended to take full advantage of when it came to our space planning and design detailing.We created a window counter seating zone, which provided a comfortable spot to enjoy lunch and watch the hustle and bustle of King Street beyond. Great for solo eats, laptop storage and people watching!

Next, we focussed on our feature wall that looked onto the square. We designed a custom banquette bench that was clad in a bright plaid fabric that framed a neutral, charcoal animal print upholstered seat and back. Seating experience #2!

While researching concept images for the Chosabi design, we found a fantastic inspiration photo of a quirky little restaurant situated in South Africa. In love we fell and we quickly became obsessed with the restaurants mix and match furnishings and large scale, sketch-like cow image that took over the wall. Clearly a cow was an ill fit for Chosabi, but a diving koi fish fit the bill. Once the concept was established, we immediately sought out Pat Lazo – a local graffiti artist to put his brilliant twist and work his magic on the image!

babel restaurant - inspiration photo - chosabi.jpg

We knew we had to include a large family style table as that concept fit with what Cho and Tracy had described (seating experience #3).  We chose an eclectic mix of chairs and stools to bring in a playful touch. All the tables were custom designed and fastened to ornate iron bases for an extra layer of detail. Again playing with scale, we specified 3 oversized black pendants to hover above the large family table anchor the space.

The restaurant space came with exposed concrete flooring which we essentially left untouched with the exception of a sealing treatment. The richness and texture of the floor worked perfectly with Chosabi's fresh/urban concept.The washrooms too have personality but without breaking the bank. We simply wrapped a black accent paint colour from sink wall to ceiling and by pairing it with eclectic lighting and plumbing fixtures.The palette throughout the space remained simple and pure. We used a charcoal / black colour paired with a crisp white to not distract from the other colourful details and mural wall feature.

We called for the ceiling to be dropped in the area opposite the mural and framed in the two large coolers. This detail helps to give the illusion of the equipment was integrated and built in rather than an afterthought and purchased item. We also designed scriptive neon signage (by the Neon Factory) which is specified to be installed above these coolers … This is a detail that is still on Cho’s to do list ;). We can't wait to see these bright lights up!

Finally, over at the kitchen, prep area and guest ordering zone, we called up for a dropped drywall bulkhead to balance the space and provides a delineation between public and private areas. Simple white subway tile along the back wall beyond the order counter provides a crisp and clean point of interest while still respecting the function of that particular area: food preparation.

The front face of the order counter was a custom design detail calling for Russian plywood in varying widths with 1/2" reveals in between. This was a low cost detail with high reward in function and interest. The plywood slats run into our “splurge moment” - a low wall clad in shiny black hex tile for a big time pop. The counter + slat wall detail, which serves the public has a barrier free section that satisfies building code, is seamlessly integrated without screaming barrier free. 

If you haven't popped in yet - make sure you do! 

#chosabi #designshop #interiordesign #exchangedistrict #patlazo

The Design Shop Girls