Dakota has always been inspired by art and innovative design and takes a deep interest in understanding how the design of a space can influence or change the way one feels. She believes that great design comes from careful consideration of space's emotional and experiential impact and that the key behind creating an impact is having a strong 'story' that is relatable, functional, and fresh for its users. Dakota is an immensely detail-oriented, creative, and artistic personality with a growing passion for retail, hospitality, and residential design and is excited to see where her future in interior design takes her.
The East End Market Food Hall is a market food hall located at 415 Eastern Avenue, Riverside, Toronto. Through research, it was found that there is a loss of uniqueness in the cultural landscapes in which food retail and hospitality spaces reside due to the rise of commercialism, mass consumption, and the obsession with speed and movement. Because of this fast paced culture we live in, people are losing their connection to their food, not knowing where it is grown, how it is made, and who makes it. Thus the vision of the East End Market Food Hall is to become a place where the Riverside Community and surrounding local food communities can connect people, food, and place on a deeper level. Using the philosophies and methodologies of the Slow Food Movement, the East End Market Food Hall emphasizes the importance of locality and preservation of food tradition and knowledge to develop and connect the Riverside community further.
The East End Market Food Hall's concept explores how boundaries can create a place in space, direct experiences, and create different levels of intimacy in a social setting like a market food hall. This is achieved through recessing boundaries, extruding boundaries, creating literal boundaries like solid walls, and implied boundaries like glass partitions, or using materials to create visual boundaries on the floor. The Slow Food Movement philosophies and methodologies such as Good-Clean-Fair, Slow Living-Slow Food, Pleasure & Conviviality, and Connecting Community inspired the concept of boundary, creating a place in space through the movement's vision to connect people, food, and place. Through research, the design process needed to include spaces that lend to learning experiences, a multisensory experience, opportunities for social interaction and conviviality, references to local icons, history, culture, and place, and lastly, a space that is flexible to be sustainable economically and socially.
The East End Market Food Hall comprises of three floors of programmed spaces. The food hall in the basement has two vendors and a bar selling locally produced food and beverages. The ground floor is a grocery market space selling locally sourced food, with emphasis on local produce. There are interactive touch screens and a taste station to encourage consumers to learn about their local producers while getting a multisensory experience. The second floor event space can be used as a singular event space or be rented as two separate event spaces. There is a casual cooking event studio that can be used for chef cooking events, cooking demonstrations, food filming events, corporate events, private events, and so on. There is also an event bar and flexible furniture arrangements where social networking and food-related events can occur.
An important aspect of the East End Market Food Hall design was maintaining the existing atrium space to connect all three floors, allowing natural light from the second floor to permeate the ground floor and basement which have fewer windows to let light in. It also allows the atmosphere to be convivial with sounds of socialization carrying from the food hall to the event space and vice versa. Moreover, there is the added multisensory experience of smelling food in the cooking event studio and the food hall throughout the space, reinforcing the connection between people, food, and place.
Fresh produce displays are placed around the atrium, separated by a clear fire-rated sheet of glass. The viewing experience is intentionally designed like one would be looking at art in an art gallery. The view of the vegetables on display can be seen from the second-floor event space and the basement food hall. The overall intention of this is to allow patrons to slow down and appreciate their local produce as if they were appreciating art at an art gallery. Spanning three floors is an atrium wall inspired by the original shape of the Don River that run through the Riverside community. On the second floor, the cooking event kitchen is connected to the other side of the event space through the mini stage, in which there are bifold doors that can open and close.
The posters demonstrate the visual story of the East End Market Food Hall and go into depth about the design process that was based on the philosophies and methodologies of the Slow Food Movement. There has been careful consideration of the nuances of the Riverside community and surrounding food communities in order to truly connect people, food, and place and convey the Riverside identity.