Batay-Csorba Architects and Fraser Greenberg of Relative Space add diamond wood panels to this bright, eye-catching coffee bar
Milky’s Coffee on Dundas West packs a lot of good things into a small space. Of course, there are the frothy drinks, including turmeric and chai lattes infused with zingy ingredients like ginger and lemongrass. And also the treats: think not-too-sweet chocolate-swirled biscotti from Forno Cultura that pair beautifully with espresso from Landscape Coffee Roasters. But it’s the dazzling wood panelling that has us (and every lifestyle influencer in the city) drooling over this tiny cafe.
Designed by Toronto and L.A.’s Batay-Csorba, the interior is wrapped in diamond-shaped Matita wood from Relative Space, whose owner, Fraser Greenberg, is also behind the coffee shop. He supplied the 1,300 panels that span the floor, walls and ceiling, creating a cohesive “loud minimalist” geometry with interlocking marble segments.
The pattern changes as it wraps around the space, showing off the skill of the architecture and design studio, BSA. In fact, the emerging firm is fast becoming a go-to for captivating textural surfaces. Take Headfoneshop, a tiny audio boutique decked in 255-folded metal panels, which we named the best retail space of the year, or this brick-clad Parkdale duplex that filters dappled light into the home.
Even the lighting here is highly considered, following a Circadian rhythm throughout the day: bright and energizing in the morning and calming in the afternoon. That’s a good way to describe the mood in the cafe, where even the shelves are invisible so as not to interrupt the flow of panelling.
In the shop windows, two Highwire pendants in custom anodized gold by Toronto’s Anony produce a warm, modern glow. Together with Greenberg, the lighting studio’s Christian Lo also designed a collection of ceramics — appropriately called Milkyware — in which the coffee shop’s rotating drink specials are served. Going forward, baristas whose beverage creations make it onto the menu will earn a percentage of sales.
Drinks like the China Town Fog, served in a dimpled glass, are infused with lychee, ginger, lemongrass and vanilla. Simple, but full of depth — just like the cafe.
Says Greenberg: “We want to be the most reliable place to compensate for things that might be missing from someone’s day: bright lights to counteract our long, grey winter days, a pop of bright colour to alleviate our mainly concrete streetscape, friendly baristas before heading out on a lonely streetcar ride.”
Take it from us, Milky’s is a wonderful respite from the cold.
Milky’s Coffee, 760 Dundas Street West.