Eco Meets Design @ UVic Mystic Market

Designing a student space that makes people feel like they are in a West Coast setting while embracing modern amenities is no small task. UVic not only needed it done, they wanted it to resonate with the students enough to be rated the best in Canada. Now it’s done and nobody is disappointed with the results.

Uvic Mystic Market - As featured in Douglas Magazine.

Uvic Mystic Market – As featured in Douglas Magazine

Adding Value

Students that review schools tend to honestly care about food services. Delivering the best cafeteria experience in Canada goes a long way towards positive reviews. For UVic’s Enrolment team this investment should pay off in more ways than one, it should draw even more students to our increasingly popular campus.

Bringing in outside suppliers vs. locally operated kiosks would have been easy but it wouldn’t have been as sustainable and it wouldn’t allow the university reinvest profits in the facilities to ensure maintenance and development.

Environmentally Friendly

Mystic Market’s choice to use it’s own brands is more than just good dollars and cents, it makes sense for maintaining control over the operations.

After considerable work with the suppliers and staff the project has hit a point of 100% diversion to compost/recycling, something you can’t expect to achieve with large commercial brands.

Going local was a huge advantage even if it was a lot of effort and planning.

Diverse Food

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desert, this market has all the food groups covered with 8 unique kiosks that each have a unique range of locally inspired choices.

  • Basecamp – For breakfast! Get your start here with traditional breakfast fare.
  • Flamin’ Good – Lunch and Dinner BBQ, including burgers and fries.
  • Treks – Soups and Panini Sandwiches
  • Board Walk – Hot drinks including coffee and tea.
  • Tofino’s – Delicious pizza & pasta puts an Italian twist on a local Spanish word.
  • Vegout – Veggie and Vegan cuisine.
  • Chopbox – Noodle bar w/some great curried selections too.
  • Berries – A dessert stand that pairs creamy treats with waffles and fruit.

All in the Design

While the market is very functional and beautiful there’s a lot in the design to appreciate from the giant wooden menu tree in the center to the finer details that reflect local history, culture, and materials.

As you walk through the market it’s really incredible how much effort was put into the finer details and choices of wood, stone, and lighting.

If you stop and listen you may hear, or not hear another detail of the design. Students like to chat over food and this wasn’t overlooked, on the contrary, the space makes use of acoustically beneficial textiles and wood to provide students with just the right amount of sound separation to have a chat without yelling across the table.

The Students LOVE IT!

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. With educational blogs writing rave reviews of the space, food sites getting lots of reviews, and online discussions popping up all over.

With all the diversity of food offerings and such an incredibly inviting and comfortable atmosphere the only valid complaints seem to be that it’s not free and you need to be a student.

Worth the Effort

There’s no question that the Mystic Market was a success, everyone involved agrees, but it wasn’t an easy 5 years! There were struggles along the way, like the outdoor eating area that was a closely won victory.

If you know of a similar project that needs both vision and guidance from an experienced designer who supports local and ecologically responsible development, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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