Ace Hotel Toronto strikes design balance between ‘local’ & ‘global’

The Ace Hotel brand is developed with the goal of creating places that feel simultaneously immersed in local culture, while also maintaining a global connection.

A lot is guided by intuition and experimentation – foregoing formulas to create places for the community. Each property has its own soul and energy, while also evoking a universal ethos of empathy, creativity, curiosity, and of course, hospitality


Shim Sutcliffe worked closely with Atelier Ace to design Ace Hotel Toronto, from conception to the realization of interior spaces. Before starting to design, they visited several Ace properties to immerse in the Ace brand experience. These properties were exemplary models of adaptive reuse, breathing new life into the buildings and their surrounding neighbourhoods. They were also hubs that help both travellers and locals to feel at home.

For the brand’s first Canadian property, the desire was for the building to feel particularly Canadian. Like the other Ace properties around the world, the architects hoped to create a welcoming civic space where life happens and memories are made. With also the concept to build time into the building so that instead of expressing newness, the building would feel as though it had always been there — like a noteworthy industrial building — with new layers added over time to facilitate its conversion into a hotel. To make it a destination for both Torontonians and visitors.

There was deliberate consideration of materials, selected to elicit intuitive and sensory experiences. An intention of orchestrating a harmony that echoes the city itself and developing an environment that offers a fresh perspective, a richness of experiences, and a sensual spirit.

The architecture also includes custom furniture, lighting, hardware and fittings to ensure a fully integrated experience. As the team believes that well-conceived lighting has a critical role to play in ensuring rich and tactile experiences in the spaces they design.

Images by Scott Norseworthy via ArchDaily

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