Lynch + Comisso: Architecture + Light

Lynch + Comisso: Architecture + Light

570 Annette Street
Toronto, ON M6S 2C2
directions

(416) 762-2778

Design Professionals

  • Steven  Comisso

    Steven Comisso

  • Mary Ellen Lynch

    Mary Ellen Lynch

About Steven Comisso

Steven Comisso, a founding partner with Lynch + Comisso: Architecture + Light, has expertise in planning, conceptual design and detailing.  The scope and scale of projects he is involved with has increased steadily.  He was the Architect and project lead for the $3.2M Aurora Heritage Centre completed in 2010, in addition to recently completed lobby renovations at the Varley Art Gallery in Markham. Steven began his architectural career in New York City in 1992 where he worked at a number of firms covering all manner of architectural services. This included retail and high-end interior design firms where he mastered millwork design and detailing. On his return to Toronto, he focused on residential and retail work building on his experiences in New York.  Having recently completed the final structure on an estate on Lake Simcoe, he is currently working on an event space within a heritage barn at the Markham Museum, as well as a rural event space in Beaver Valley, Ontario.

"BOATHOUSE KITCHEN"

Regional Award Winner

KDC 2013-14

First Time Entry Award Winner

KDC 2013-14

Q&A with Steven Comisso

How do you approach the design process?

I often look at the context.  In our current entry, there are cues in the steel structure of the boathouse that we expand on.  In its former life the boathouse slip was also a workspace to maintain the vessels that were housed there.  In our kitchen design we have a trestle table that is our work surface; only now it is for entertaining. Lighting also figures prominently in my designs because the kitchen can either be centre stage or in the supporting cast depending on the wishes of the client.

How does your aesthetic stand out amongst other designers/architects?

I am open to using materials in non-traditional ways.  I see beauty in raw materials and use that in my designs.  In reference to kitchens I weave the cabinetry into the flow of the room. This frees up the visual landscape so I can place the design emphasis where it is needed.

What is the greatest value you provide your client?


I involve them in the design.  They enjoy being part of the creative process, and their contributions are often more valuable to a project than you could have envisioned at the outset.  The good ones push you and allow you the latitude to be better than good – even great.

What is your biggest challenge as a designer/architect?

In the kitchen, my biggest design challenge is always the refrigerator. It seems mundane but it is very important to integrate it in such a way so as not to overpower or anchor the kitchen in a negative way.

What are some of the current design trends?

I see a lot of raw and reclaimed materials and vintage looks coming up. Visual frames are important now; they set up the focal point of the kitchen and help to visually organize the different elements.

Where do you see kitchen design going in the next 5 years?

I see two streams evolving: one automates the kitchen function and the other is back-to-basics. They are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. In many kitchens, we are seeing more and more highly specialized devices (witness the proliferation of the soda stream), which must be accommodated as part of the flow of the food preparation process in the kitchen. At the other end of the spectrum, the foodies (people who love food and cooking) love simplicity which means fewer gadgets and machines and only the essentials are needed in the kitchen.

About Mary Ellen Lynch

Mary Ellen Lynch is a principal architect at Lynch + Comisso and offers lighting design consulting as a value-added service to the firm’s architectural projects as well as consulting with other design professionals to light their projects. Over 23 years, Mary Ellen’s experience includes serving as Project Architect on several neighborhood redevelopment projects in East Harlem, New York City; museum exhibition design; and retail and architectural lighting design for both interior and exterior spaces. She has been responsible for unique residential renovations in Toronto that have provided Lynch + Comisso many opportunities to incorporate new construction into existing conditions to create renewed housing that is both in keeping with and enhancing the surrounding residential urban fabric. Currently, Mary Ellen is working on several restorations and renovations of churches and rectories in Toronto.

"BOATHOUSE KITCHEN"

Regional Award Winner

KDC 2013-14

First Time Entry Award Winner

KDC 2013-14

Q&A with Mary Ellen Lynch

Where do you find design inspiration?
Carlo Scarpa is one inspiration. He has a minimal but rich way of detailing joints in materials, beautifully bringing old and new together. With renovation work especially, the European sensibility of respecting the old while incorporating the modern continues to inspire me. And Light - I've had the good fortune of working for two pioneers in the architectural lighting design world (George Sexton and Paul Marantz). Light is the medium by which we see the world. We as designers have the power to manipulate that media - interesting light transforms a space.

How do you approach the design process?

Three key principles guide my approach to the design process:
1) Always have an open mind
2) Carefully analyze the existing context
3) Listen to and interpret our clients' ideas

How does your aesthetic stand out amongst other designers/architects?

We don't have a formula or a readily recognizable style, and we like it that way. We learn from successful design ideas and details, but we continue to evolve them with each new project. Our personalized approach allows our client’s personality to come through. Every project represents the client’s essence, making it unique.
We bring an in-depth understanding and resource for quality lighting; a value-added service that other architects/designers may not bring to the table.

What is the greatest value you provide your client?

Many people are intimidated by the design and construction process. We provide validation and confidence to our clients by educating them throughout the process: education doesn’t reduce the 'magic' of design, it reinforces the marvel that a client has for the design process. Understanding the complexity of a project gives them a greater appreciation for the finished product.

What does the Sub-Zero and Wolf Kitchen Design Contest mean to you?


Kudos to Sub-Zero and Wolf for supporting and promoting great design. As architects and designers we rely on venues like this to validate and motivate us to explore new ideas that help move our design to the next level.

What are some of the current design trends?


Professional yet playful; natural materials combined with high technology; clean modern details with carefully placed splashes of color. For example, the playful touches of color found in Wolf products add pleasure and beauty to a serious tool.