The 1970 Osaka Expo presented a vision of the future imagined with the fusion of tradition and technology. Yoshiaki Shiraishi brought his own vision to Osaka, debuting to the international audience a harmony of tradition and innovation with his conveyor belt sushi.  The design for Toronto’s TORA–from restauranteur Seigo Nakamura–is a continuation of Shiraishi’s innovation. TORA articulates the original spirit of the concept–high-quality, traditional fare that creates its own idealistic future.

With a cool palette void of texture, the space differentiates itself immediately, creating an alternative reality, not unlike a film set. Perception and depth are explored through ovoid niches along the steel clad walls, where glowing sculptures emulate forms from outer space. Shadow and light are continuously at play creating an enveloping, scenic space, influenced by the dramatic atmospheres of Czech scenographer, Josef Svoboda. Parallel to our design brief, Svoboda’s scenography is realized as a synthesis of traditional methods with technical innovations to create a ‘total’ design experience.

Drawing elements from science fiction, cinema, metabolic architecture and the unknown, TORA transports diners into fantasy. The plasticity of place and of time along with our inherent fascination with the unknown became central concepts for the experience of Tora, allowing us to reimagine what the hospitality experience can be.

Photography by Ian Lanterman.
Branding & Graphic Design by Glasfurd & Walker.