It’s always nice when former industrial sites, so often the bad guy in today’s eco-savvy times, are reinvented as something new – all the architecture and heritage, none of the belching chimneys. That’s the story of the Don Valley Brick Works, Toronto. Formerly churning out tens of millions of bricks a year, it’s now known as the Evergreen Brick Works, an environmental centre at the heart of a national park.
Those outdoorsy folk need somewhere to refresh themselves after a long walk, and in came celeb chef Brad Long and John Tong of tongtong to create Café Belong in the old factory. The works was built in 1889, and there is hod loads of nods to the site’s former function, with walls and counters being constructed from brick, notably the huge herringbone wall which gives a modern angle with its odd-coloured bricks occasionally intruding into the pattern. The stand-out feature at the café is its centre-piece light installation, a joint project between the designers and fabricators which weaves in and around the existing struts, inspired by Antoni Tàpies’ Cloud and Chair sculpture in Barcelona.