Blanchette Architectes recently designed Minéral, the latest bar project from entrepreneurs and restaurateurs Mathieu Ménard and Steve Grenier. A wine bar by day and a nightclub after dark, the festive space has a particularly discreet atmosphere. It opened on June 27, 20202, in the heart of Montreal’s Gay Village in Canada.

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.

Light as raw material

“As they emanate from the architecture, light and colours become raw materials that fill the space,” says Patrick Blanchette, the founder of Blanchette Architectes. Working in close collaboration with the client, the architect imagined an evolving scenic design where “sound vibrations translate to waves of colour, staying with the guest from their first after-work cocktail until late at night.”

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.

Fine cabinetry

Simple materials were used as the backdrop for the dramatic lighting: wood, metal, leather and polycarbonate. The space is organised 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.

Photos: Atelier Welldone