ROY THOMPSON HALL is the home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and its 89+ members, and though the TSO Lounge gets used for numerous events and functions, its primary purpose is to provide the musicians of the orchestra a place to relax, read, eat lunch, and convene during their rehearsal and performance schedules.

As on the Massey Hall project, I was hired by the Director of Operations, Colleen Smith based on the strength of our collaboration during renovations at both Massey Hall and Factory Theatre. The intent was to create a more attractive space that also made better use of the spacious floor plan within the lower level of RTH, and which enjoys a generous window view to the sunken patio on the North side of the building. The primary work on this project focussed on painting, window coverings, furnishings, and space planning that would organize the room into several seating and meeting areas, as well as providing a place for the members to nominally prepare and eat their meals.

Similar to the Massey Hall renovations, the timeline was tightly slotted between the busy schedule affiliated with the TSO Lounge, and the budget was again modest with it necessary to use commercial grade products wherever possible. I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful sectional sofa through Skypad, which typically outfits an international roster of hotels and function centres. The slubby linen and dark charcoal colour were perfect and the sectional’s flexibility became the primary device for defining the various areas of the space, while allowing the potential for these areas to shift as needed.

I had wanted to fully surface one of the end walls with an arrangement of old musical instruments by way of homage to the purposed lives of those using the space and also to introduce the warmth of wood to contrast to the grey-scale palette dominating the entire building. However, time and money didn’t allow for this pursuit and the modest alternative was textured wooden panels on either end of the room, referencing the ebb and flow of musical time.

The musicians and directors of the TSO were apparently thrilled to bits with their improved space and hopefully it helps them feel elevated and appreciated, always a satisfying outcome.