In early 2012 we embarked on designing and building the unconventional interior of a new children’s writing-centre in Bloordale, Toronto. Working with local non-profit Story Planet the coffee bar and retail space support the creative writing and art centre in the back. The space gives kids and youth the opportunity to hang out and learn from some of Canada’s finest writers, artists and digital story-makers and is inspired by Dave Eggers’ 826 National program. The front terminal houses the Black Hole Coffee bar offering travellers high octane fuel. There is also a gift and book store to make sure you have everything for your journey including planetary samples.
The concept for the Intergalactic Travel Authority was designed to inspire and revolved around a narrative. It was conceived as a transportation hub for a misplaced martian named 1165 who landed on earth accidentally on his way to Mars in 2000 and has been trying to get home ever since, in the meantime he’s had to make do with materials at his disposal and has managed to assemble a pretty interstellar space in which to get to know his earthling friends. Our approach was to think about a future of creative reuse and resourcefulness. Using elements obtained from the former credit union that occupied the space along with a number of other locally sourced materials we evoked an air terminal of the future. The highlight is the space portal which inspires the children as they go from the store side into the creative work space behind. It consists of programmed LED lights illuminating repurposed blue glass bottles with a steady breathing pattern that switches to hyperspace when the children press the reused arcade button as they cross through the uniquely designed doors.
Other key design elements incorporated were seating made with remade conveyor apron and repurposed piston rods, scrap wall coffee bar with illuminated chalkboards made with freezer doors and stove ring waste receptacles, along with futuristic shelving made with cut-up radiators.