II BY IV DESIGN has won two awards at the Retail Design Institute's (RDI) 45th Annual International Store Design Competition for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's (LCBO) Urban Infill concept store and Olympia Tile's Flagship Showroom in North York, Ontario.
The Urban Infill Store, located at 1986 Queen Street East in Toronto is a highly innovative concept for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario; the first of its kind, it was created to get the most out of high-density urban areas and provide a viable solution to design, construction, operational efficiency and delivery challenges.
Though modern in layout and functionality the Urban Infill Store is imbued with a feeling of hands on craftsmanship and old world charm. The overall concept based on an understanding that urban customers look for not only convenience but a selection of higher-end product and a sense of "retail-theatre" in their shopping experience.
On the exterior, a strong street presence is created by using the full double story façade of the building; defined by dark bronze mullions and Gabions, wire cages filled with rocks, stacked above the entrance in conjunction with a back-lit oversized graphic of idyllic rolling hills. The overall effect is dramatic with the intention of lending a sense of history and context.
Inside, light filled interiors feature high ceilings, herringbone-tiled floors, bleached oak wood, recycled wine barrels, dark bronze metal and patina finishes that further reference an artisanal quality. The signature design element is a VINTAGES runway that showcases open wood crates and unique fixtures that display a variety of over 350 "handpicked" premium products sourced both locally and from around the world.
As front-runners in the Tile and Stone industry Olympia Tile has great influence over styling and demand, particularly within North America but also worldwide.
Their flagship showroom occupies an entire block and features over 37,000 square feet of space open to the public, which is nothing short of grand. Employing natural stone sourced from the client's product line the final design is a contemporary, fashion-forward space with a bold architectural feel that references a gallery experience and high-end retail.
To enhance the characteristics of the product on display, black and white finishes were used throughout the showroom: matte black walls with white lacquered free-standing fixtures, black porcelain floors with a beautiful book-matched white marble reception desk, and a black painted ceiling with repeating white light troughs. This black and white high-contrast effect is classic and allows the product to ultimately be the star.
Photography: David Whittaker, Hill Peppard