Mason Studio: Design Is Everywhere And Everything

Toronto’s Alobar Downtown welcomes all guests who seek elevated comfort, courtesy of Mason Studio.

What feeling should guests experience when they walk into a restaurant? From cozy to elegant or grungy to sophisticated, any restaurant’s experience depends on elements that extend beyond the kitchen. The ambience of any restaurant will be established from the moment a guest walks in. Lighting, music, aromas, décor, furniture and even the wardrobe of the servers play a role in your dining experience.

“Elevated comfort” is how Stanley Sun describes the guest experience at Alobar Downtown. Alobar is locally, nationally and internationally renowned for its hospitality and culinary quality, especially for its balance between upscale and laid-back dining experiences. Alobar Downtown is nestled in the heart of Toronto’s bustling Financial District, where Mason Studio was determined to redefine the city’s ultimate dining experience through design.

Sun, Mason Studio’s creative director and co-founder, works alongside the studio’s other co-founder and its executive director, Ashley Rumsey. Both have dedicated their lives to creating beautifully designed spaces that are less about minimalism and more about essentialism.

“It is about creating a space that has everything that it needs and nothing too much more.”

At the core of their work, they understand that different environments impact people physiologically, emotionally and mentally.

They stayed true to their guiding principle of matching the interior design with the food and service experience. “It is about creating a space that has everything that it needs and nothing too much more. The purpose of that is to allow anybody to come into the space and feel welcomed but also to let the food stand out. The food at Alobar is incredibly exquisite, so the design of the space must not detract from that,” says Sun.

The best design is when we don’t know it is there. It works effortlessly and feels right. Decorative components like the descending sculptures from the ceiling tie the space together and create a level of intimacy that transcends the dining experience. The small effect of light movement creates a gentle, soft beauty in the guest’s surroundings that radiates comfortability. From intentional lighting to contrasting marble with natural wood, curving and smooth surfaces, you have almost anything that you desire from the venue.

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“One half of the space is the bar, which is a little bit more energetic and livelier. Just adjacent to that is the dining area, which we created as a more elegant, romantic and conversational space. No matter the occasion, it can cater to what you’re looking for,” says Sun.

Mason Studio has established itself with a multi-award-winning history of projects that showcase its flawless design. Along its journey, the firm has left its mark on almost every sector of interior design, from hotels to retail, hospitality to private residences, understanding how people interact with their environments and applying that knowledge to every project. However, an environment must be more than just functional ― to truly succeed, it must also feel and look beautiful. Although Mason Studio’s designers are not specialists in one industry, their notable specialty is their ability to find ways to create designs of subtle elegance.

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Marc Castaldo

Marc Castaldo