Blanchette Architectes recently designed Minéral, the latest bar project from entrepreneurs and restaurateurs Mathieu Ménard and Steve Grenier in Montreal.

A wine bar by day and a nightclub after dark, the festive space has a particularly discreet atmosphere. It opened on June 27 in the heart of Montreal’s Gay Village.

The starting point was simple: a musical title for each of the three distinct ambiances that succeed each other as the night goes on. Based on that idea, the design team imagined a space whose atmosphere could change radically from its late-afternoon opening to its late-night peak.

Architecture, light and the soundscape were all handled as raw materials to frame the bar’s atmosphere at different times of day. The “warmly glacial” space plays on the warm-cool duality of colours, materials and light. Soothing light is projected onto wall-mounted canvases, reminiscent of art installations like those of James Turrell.

Simple materials were used as the backdrop for the dramatic lighting: wood, metal, leather and polycarbonate. The bar’s co-owner, Mathieu Ménard, is not only an entrepreneur, but a talented cabinetmaker; it was only natural to play to that strength. The space is therefore organized around impressive woodwork: the bar in black-lacquered wood and the imposing, Japanese-inspired wooden ceiling structure – a pleasing nod to wine cellars. These captivating elements are infused with light, showcasing the top-quality woodwork.

One goal was to imagine sufficiently simple details using easy-to-work materials with undeniable intrinsic aesthetic qualities. Plants growing between the polycarbonate panels complete the scene and help create a dreamy, mysterious landscape.

Design: Blanchette Architectes
Photography: Atelier Welldone