Made to Measure

Stavros Sartoriale Retail Store, Toronto

Giannone Associates Architects Inc.

Located in Toronto’s tony Yorkville shopping district, a recent addition–both in architectural and business terms–to Stavros Sartoriale adds a ready-to-wear component to a long-established made-to-measure tailor and custom shirt-maker shop. The 500 square foot addition both complements and contrasts the existing shop, creating a richly paneled, brightly lit counterpart to the original’s traditional dark wood interior.

The addition’s crisp modernity is clearly expressed in the new storefront, whose mullionless glazing offers unimpeded views from the street. The stepped white back-painted glass storefront helps direct the eye to the wares framed by the cherry-lined display window. An orange back-painted glass panel marks the entry, and a mirrored valence visually extends the threshold and confounds the distinction between interior and exterior. Mirrors within the store are kept to a minimum, being limited to the fitting room, which is essentially a mirrored box.

In keeping with one of the primary strategies in the design of the addition–the creation of a physical manifestation of the highly individualized nature of Stavros’ made-to-measure service–the narrow entry allows only one person to pass at a time. The shop is equipped with only one fitting room, located at the front of the store so someone being fitted for a suit essentially becomes part of the display.

The store’s interior is finished in plaster, conceived as a lining between the base building and the shop. Extending the sartorial analogy, a layer of cherry paneling and custom millwork provide what the architects refer to as “stitching” between the new and existing shops. The individualized nature of the shopping experience referred to in the narrow entry is also expressed in the panel bays scaled to correspond to a single body. White back-painted glass and marble flooring complete the limited material palette, contributing to the clean, bright feel of the shop’s interior.

In a fitting reference to the careful detailing associated with the shop’s made-to-measure service, the architects provided a “total design” solution for Stavros, including custom display fixtures and hanging systems along with the mannequins and tags, bags and other components of the shop’s brand identity.

Client: Stavros Theodoropolis

Architect team: Ralph Giannone, Pina Petricone, Rita Kiriakis, Heather Rolleston, Jennifer Turner

Contractor: Creative Business Interiors

Area: 500 sq. ft.

Budget: $180,000

Completion: September 1999

Photography: Richard Johnson unless noted