Canadian studio APPAREIL Architecture has recently completed Pastel Rita, a 1,500 square feet (139 square meters) space which comprises a cafe, a boutique and an artisans’ workshop in Montreal. In approaching the APPAREIL Architecture firm, the couple who owns the space, Gabriel Malenfant, member of the band Radio Radio, and Véronique Orban de Xivry, founder of the brand Bouquet, wished to create a hybrid space that combined a café with a workshop-boutique. This unique collaborative spirit is expressed in APPAREIL Architecture’s proposition through overlapping spaces which allow customers to gain an exclusive glimpse at the creation workshop, all while enjoying a coffee.
Located on St-Laurent street in the creative Mile-End neighbourhood, the large windows allow for natural lighting, while giving passersby a preview of the creations placed in the storefront. The café section of Pastel Rita stands out through its welcoming atmosphere, and was so named in honor of Rita, Gabriel’s grand-mother.
This part of the space consists of a large central bar which allows for direct contact between the baristas and the customers. Painted in a glossy green, this custom-made furnishing, as well as APPAREIL Atelier’s FLOE chairs, lend a festive tone to the room.
Behind the bar, a partition made of wooden slats serves as a separating screen delineating the boutique section of the wall. This panel is punctuated by large, arch-shaped openings, putting the handbags, hats, and leather accessories on a pedestal. The curve of the golden ceiling reinforces the delineation of the space, while creating a luxurious effect that serves to highlight the creations produced in the workshop.
In the boutique, several architectural details act as displays for the artisans’ handbag and accessory creations. The predominance of curves and the pastel color palette give rise to a creative and playful atmosphere. A seating nook was custom-designed and faces large, metallic, window-adorned doors that allow curious customers to have a direct view on the artisans at work. This convivial zone seems to be taken straight out of another universe, as all its components sport a pastel pink color.
“The Bouquet handbag brand is known for its colors, and my artistic universe, including my clothing style, is too. We thought that APPAREIL Architecture’s cleaner, even contemporary style, combined with our desire for a colorful design, would be the perfect marriage, and it’s exactly what we got as a final product,” explain the owners, Gabriel Malenfant and Véronique Orban de Xivry. “APPAREIL urged us to visualize the space and its ‘flow’ in a completely different way than we had imagined. Now, we couldn’t imagine it being otherwise.”