Look at this! The biophilic hotel of dreams. I don’t think I could have imagined a more perfect hotel if I had tried. All of you who know my love of biophilic design will recognise that this is my idea of heaven. If my home could look like this I would never leave.
This is 1 Hotel in Toronto which was designed by leading New York architecture and design studio The Rockwell Group. It is Canada’s first mission-driven hotel that celebrates the beauty of Toronto’s natural environment. The concept for the hotel is to turn urbanism inside out by creating an oasis in the heart of the city. This inviting portal to the natural world is a new standard in sustainable luxury experiences.
“We have long admired 1 Hotels’ sustainable and eco-friendly ethos, and we are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to design the new 1 Hotel Toronto with a biophilic emphasis. Our vision for the hotel invites guests to celebrate Toronto’s ecology through materiality and locally-made artwork.”David Rockwell, Founder, Rockwell Group
Lake Ontario and the passing of the seasons provided the inspiration for the material palette and muted colours that feature in this biophilic hotel. Clever use of reclaimed timber, native plants, board-formed concrete, and local marble all add to the biophilic credentials of 1 Hotel.
The stunning lobby area is a warm and welcoming space and the floor-to-ceiling windows create a seamless transition between the outdoors and the inside. The reclaimed Elmwood flooring and shelving have been sourced from a
dismantled barn in Ontario. The 4.5 metre-high ceilings provide a feeling of spaciousness and the entrance to the hotel features a mix of granite and limestone boulders, maple trees, local plants, warm wood, and a trailing green canopy, all reminiscent of Canada’s natural landscape.
Other sustainable design details in this biophilic hotel include a living green wall, found objects, local stone and reclaimed furnishings from materials such as elmwood and teak root.
The check-in area where guests are welcomed by hotel staff features an impressive stone wall carved out of glacial activity along the Eramosa River. The wood-like striations of the wall provide a perfect backdrop to an art installation designed by Toronto-based artists Moss & Lam.
1 Hotel is not short of places to dine and drink as it boasts two restaurants and two bars. 1 Kitchen is located in a glass-walled conservatory-like space that is flooded with light and filled with greenery that is hung from the carved trusses of the vaulted ceiling.
Madera is the other restaurant on-site and is an organic Mexican restaurant. It has a much more elegant and grown-up feel to it although it does follow the design cues of the hotel. Sand-blasted textured wood, greenery, wooden dining chairs crafted by Benchmark, reclaimed live edge wood tabletops, artistic handmade vessels, and modern, vibrant lighting all enhance the feeling of being close to nature.
Harriet’s is an open concept rooftop sushi bar with sliding glass walls and a retractable roof. It has breathtaking city and lake views. The woven rope ceiling interspersed between wood beams, reclaimed Elmwood flooring and leather and lambskin accents recall Toronto’s flora and fauna.
One of my favourite areas of the hotel is the Garden pavilion which provides a private outdoor seating area partitioned from the outdoors with a graphic pergola-like structure that is again adorned with hanging greenery and flanked with wooden boxes full of fresh herbs.
The guest rooms at 1 Hotel are calming and serene spaces that act as relaxing sanctuaries. The light and airy rooms feature sliding barn wood doors that divide the bedroom from the bathroom. Behind the bed, a natural wood accent wall acts as a backdrop to the leather headboard.
Travelling may still be a little tricky at the moment, but once restrictions ease and things become more straightforward, how nice would it be to visit this beautiful Canadian biophilic hotel?