Multidisciplinary design studio +tongtong recently completed a bold, layered interior for Annie Aime, the latest Toronto retail space from Parisienne fashion retailer Annie Mesenge. Designed to be a flexible, open-concept environment that can easily be transformed into a space for art openings and other events, the interior is one of the first to implement +tongtong’s recently launched Les Ailes Noires series of freestanding clothing racks.
The geometric units, made of welded steel, are weighted so that they merely lean against the wall and can be easily moved throughout the space with no fasteners required. “They’re layered into a space that is very animated,” says principal John Tong. “Bold colours and architectural expression were needed to really capture Annie’s personality. I got this from the very first time we met when she described her passion for what she does and the fashion she searches out for her clients”.
Tong achieved this animation by working with graffiti artist Pascal Paquette to create an “organic, almost spontaneous” graffiti treatment that seems to drip down the walls and onto the floor, and even onto the glass-fronted storefront. “It’s quite active. It’s dynamic. It’s textural,” says Tong. Playing off of a strip of exposed brick left in the space by the owner, Tong also developed a low-lying stepped brick display unit down the centre of the shop, as well as a floor-to-ceiling brick and wood shelving unit at the rear. “It gives the space a grounding with out being precious,” says Tong. “It brings a tactility and materiality to the space, which is otherwise made up of drywall, paint and steel.”
Tong sees the juxtaposition of the geometric racks layered over the fluid, almost malleable, graffiti as a visual dynamic which also reflects the sprite of the labels she carries, which includes feminine, floral pieces as well as bold, architectural offerings from Veeshoo, frrry, Outclass, Helene Clément, Prêt pour partir, Saint-James and Saisei. “Creating a space where Annie felt she could express herself, play and offer the treasures from her explorations and journeys to her guests has been a joy”.
Formerly a founding principal of interior design firm 3rd Uncle Design, +tongtong principal John Tong (B. Architecture from the University of Toronto 1992) has a diverse range of projects currently underway, including continued work with the Drake Hotel with its new Prince Edward County location, the Drake Devonshire Inn; a new hospitality project for the Delta Hotel in Waterloo; a Spanish concept restaurant in the historical market district of Toronto; a Jamaican – Chinese restaurant in Little Italy; several exciting custom residential projects, along with development of furniture and products.Location: Toronto, Canada Architect: +tongtong Photos: Ben Rahn/A-Frame Inc.