Luma is just the latest restaurant to be opened in a cultural institution — without making reference to its context. It could be a restaurant anywhere. There’s no reason for it to be in TIFF Bell Lightbox. Why?
Elsewhere, restaurants in museums are tailored to exploit their context. You dine at The Modern in MoMA, eat three-star food, and look out over the sculpture garden.
At the Metropolitan, diners in the Petrie Court….
At the British Museum, the Court restaurant is right under the great dome. But in Toronto….
You wouldn’t know that JK at the Gardiner belongs in the same space as the enchanting ceramics museum. Ditto ROM’s C5. Last time I was there, a functionary pointed out to me how environmentally conscious the museum was, there would be gardens on the roofs. Get over it. I can get that anywhere. Why aren’t some of the museum’s remarkable artifacts on display? Gosh, the restaurant’s big enough. Of course, like poor Luma, C5 is difficult to actually find.
The best of the lot is Frank at the AGO where art is on display. But the design! It’s a jungle jim which has customers and waiters interacting rather too closely. Great idea to have Frank’s entrance on the street but the trouble is who knew? I’ve walked past it several times without noticing. No wonder it’s not picking up many diners from the general public. Apparently it’s take went down this past summer when an exhibition bombed.
Blame the architects. KMPB, Daniel Liebeskind, Frank Gehry for making a restaurant in their image rather than putting it in the context of the institution. Blame the boards of directors for their edifice complex — a fancy building is all. No thought about what’s inside.