The Story

(fau-na) – the animals of a particular region or habitat

Located in Ottawa’s Centretown neighbourhood, Fauna is a single-storey restaurant with a private room in the basement where events can be held. A corner building along the main urban artery of Bank Street, the existing brick building has played host to a variety of shops in its lifetime, but was never home to a restaurant. When the client first acquired the site, they rented two adjacent shops divided by a brick wall. After working diligently with the Heritage department at the City of Ottawa, the existing wall was removed allowing for a more efficient layout. The wall was replaced with a structural beam and a long feature table that act as constant reminders of the building’s historic past. This attention to exposing the existing building was carried throughout the design, highlighting the exterior brick walls and maintaining both original entryways to signify each of the original storefronts.

The restaurant features a new commercial kitchen and an open, wrap-around bar that frames views of the chefs in action. In addition to the new program, the palette of new materials showcased timeless selections that would age as elegantly as the existing building. These selections included a zinc bar, custom wood tables and wood banquettes. By restricting the palette to three materials, brick, wood, and zinc, the space feels sophisticated yet modest, welcoming, and playful. Lighting selection also played a large role in the success of this design. A series of frosted petal pendants animate the restaurant, acting as beacons that can be seen from the street. A few carefully selected feature lights also add interest to the tables along the glass storefronts.

Since opening in 2014, Fauna has become an iconic project, anchoring the Centretown neighbourhood and infusing new life into a gentrifying community.