Faro means “beacon” or “lighthouse” in Italian, and that is exactly what the Oak Bay Beach Hotel wanted to create when they launched Faro Handcrafted Pizza and Tasting Room in May, 2020. The team at Spaciz Design brought their vision to life in a room that invites locals and visitors to Oak Bay to share a handcrafted pizza, seasonal salad, or freshly-made cocktail.
By Belle White | Photos Provided by Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Spaciz Design is a Victoria, BC-based design team known for their commercial projects in and around Victoria, including JUSU Juice Bars and Dockside Physiotherapy. Their task with Faro was to take the iconic, landmark property and turn the former cafe space, Kate’s Cafe, into a bright and exciting dining experience, while incorporating design elements from the original hotel.
Spruce asked Spaciz Design and the team at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel to share the vision, process, and exciting design elements of Faro with us.
The Beginning…Why Pizza?
The idea for Faro began in 2018 when the management team at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel (OBBH) realized that Kate’s Cafe, although a cozy and successful eatery, wasn’t living up to its potential.
“The idea for pizza instead of a cafe-only space came when we looked at all the dining options in the hotel and realized we were missing a modern, but casual, dining experience. The Snug has amazing views and food, but being a pub it is specifically for the 19+ demographic,” says Marketing Manager Anneke Feuermann.
As well as creating more dining options, having a restaurant instead of a cafe-only space allows longer hours and more time for the visitors and guests to enjoy the stunning patio.
And the switch seems to have been successful. “We’re very proud that the locals love the space. Sometimes you lose clientele when a local eatery is renovated into something new, but in this case the local use appears to have increased. We’ve received lots of glowing compliments since it’s completion,” says Tracey Lamoureux of Spaciz Designs.
Lamoureux, Carley Petillion and team members Michele Putters and Victoria Vega were the designers involved in the project, which of course started with deciding the style of the space.
“Our major starting point was centred around a casual yet sophisticated look that I experienced from a recent trip to Paris with my husband. We stayed at the glorious Hoxton Hotel. Not realizing at the time that I would soon have an opportunity to design a restaurant space, I was impressed with the vibe of this incredible hotel and took lots of pictures of the designs. In the end it was the bar design, the light fixtures, and the 16’ Kelly Green velvet banquettes that took centre stage for our design. Those features alone shaped the entire design process from that point forward,” says Lamoureuex.
Christian Sealey, the Director of Food & Beverage at the OBBH loved the casual and sophisticated style that Lamoureuex proposed.
“We wanted to create a space that, to a degree, went against the traditional aesthetic of our hotel, all the while still providing the high standard of product that we are known for. Our goal was for people to walk into the space and be pleasantly surprised, even shocked, that this modern space is a part of what we are now offering,” says Sealey.
Sealey and Lamoureux coined the term “sophisticajj” (sof-i-sti-cash) for the casual, yet sophisticated style they created for Faro.
5 Design Elements to Look For in Faro
1- The Glass Behind The Bar
The Tutor stained glass panels from the original 1940’s hotel were repurposed into the glass displays behind the bar. “The red glass diamonds that did not suit our colour palette were hidden and covered with veneer flitches patched over top so to not destroy the original red glass,” explains Lamoureux.
2 – The Brick Wall Feature
The brick wall you see in the corner of Faro is the original brick from the 1940’s hotel. The brick feature wall is actually the old wine cellar from the original hotel design. The Spaciz team was approved to use the original wine storage area to create the special corner and inspire a cozy feeling.
3 – Light Fixtures as Art
The team debated whether to include art in the space. Using art on the walls can create a vibe but it also takes light away from the space, explains Feuermann. In the end, the desire to create a bright space won and they decided not to include art on the walls. But that doesn’t mean the space lacks design: using creative and unique light fixtures adds style to the space while also keeping it light and open.
4 – The Entryway
When you enter Faro, you are entering through the original doors of the 1940 hotel. It’s pretty amazing to walk through a piece of history and enter the bright, modern space.
5 – The Bar Top Design
Lamoureux explains that one of the trickiest parts of the design was the bar top with a reverse ogee drop edge, which was a really difficult design to fabricate.
Next time you visit, spot the design elements referenced here, and enjoy those thoughtful and inspired details that contribute to the restaurant’s unique atmosphere.
Continue Reading: Design Files with Designer Ivan Meade