July 12, 2021

Art Abounds at Minami Toronto, Aburi Restaurants’ New Outpost by DesignAgency

Cascading plants punctuate the service station, drawing eyes to the counter where sushi is made. Photography by Derek Shapton.

Adding to the vibrant cultural scene in Toronto’s downtown entertainment district, the Japanese restaurant Minami has landed on the East Coast and brought its eye-catching visuals with it. The Aburi Restaurant Group collaborated closely with local firm DesignAgency to transform the 4,600-square-foot space into a dynamic, day-to-night destination where every surface conveys a warm yet contemporary aesthetic. A drinks-focused venue, an installation of 90 gossamer red and orange painted fabric sheets softly billow from the ceiling in front of the wooden bar, mimicking the flicker of a fire. The movement of the overhead installation creates a sense of intimacy at the tables, which is further emphasized by plush leather seating and an arched backlit screen—made from a custom mix of glazes painted on sheer fabric—wraps diners in a soft glow. A favored artist of Aburi Restaurants, Japanese painter Hideki Kimura’s signature frogs, koi, and lotus flowers appear in a hand-painted mural mailed to Toronto where it was digitally scanned and applied onsite to the feature wall. A harmonious yet exciting mélange of colors, patterns, and textures, DesignAgency captures the layered intricacies of Minami’s food in its design.

Decorative Ceramica Magica tiles line the dining room floor. Photography by Derek Shapton.
Custom orb lighting hangs over matching benches and chairs. Photography by Derek Shapton.
The ceiling installation is by Moss and Lam StudioPhotography by Derek Shapton.
A school of carp swims toward Japanese maple leaves and cherry blossom branches in Kimura’s wall mural. Photography by Derek Shapton.

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