A Feast For The Eyes
We tapped DesignAgency to tell us the inspo behind Liberty Commons’ interior design.
When we were first brewing up plans for Liberty Commons, we knew we wanted to create a warm, inviting space conducive to lingering over pints with close friends, boozy brunches, pre-gaming for TFC matches, and much more. That’s why we tapped Allen Chan of award-winning DesignAgency (also known for their stunning work at our sister resto, Leña) to bring this basement of ours to life! Here, Allen shares his design expertise, inspirations, and favourite element of the restaurant.
Liberty Commons: When O&B and Big Rock approached you to take charge of the design of this new concept, what was your first reaction?
Allen Chan: We were excited! We wanted to breathe new life into an otherwise dark, leftover basement and create a hospitality space that would appeal to the area’s youthful and creative spirit.
LC: Where did you find inspiration for the restaurant and brewpub design?
AC: We were inspired by the surrounding setting of Liberty Village, and wanted to showcase the neighborhood’s industrial past as well as its design-driven future. We also wanted to create a setting to highlight the brewing process and design that spoke to the process of beer production, and how that inspires the menu.
To give the interiors a distinctive character throughout, we blended sophisticated finishes, and paired them with reclaimed and industrial objects. Reclaimed surfaces, including masonry, as well as the wood slat elevator screens and massive original wooden beams contrast with sleek geometric tile, leather banquettes, and polished wood and marble tabletops. The result is a space that’s part vintage speakeasy, part modern tasting cellar and pub with a polished, yet casual atmosphere.
LC: How did the building’s bones and history, as well as the history of the neighbourhood, inform your design decisions?
AC: The area is going through a huge transformation. Part of that transformation is about preservation and how we can beautifully merge the old with the new. We wanted to pay homage to the history of the building by keeping and bringing to the forefront as much of the building’s character as possible, such as exposed masonry walls and the existing wood post and beam structure.
LC: How did the brewery component of the restaurant guide some of your designs?
AC: We wanted to design interiors that showcase the brewing method through custom elements, such as lighting, that are seemingly part of that process. The use of copper in the brewing process inspired the design of the custom lights throughout the project. Exposed ducts and conduits also add to the feeling of brew-making and inventiveness.
LC: What is your personal favourite design feature within the entire restaurant?
AC: I’ve grown really fond of the waiting area downstairs. We found the vintage lecture hall seating, and placed the “I don’t give a sip” sign above it – there is something irreverent about that juxtaposition that I really like.
DesignAgency is an award-winning international design studio founded in 1998 by partners and long-time friends Allen Chan, Matt Davis and Anwar Mekhayech. The studio is known for uniting interior design, architectural concepting, strategic branding, and visual communication in a unique and innovative way. For more information, visit thedesignagency.ca.
Photography by Brandon Barré