- Minéral, a new venue by Blanchette Architectes in Montreal
The city of Montreal has a new venue that fits the bill perfectly. It opened on 27 June in the heart of the Gay Village, and it’s called Minéral, designed by Blanchette Architectes, founded by Patrick Blanchette and Kevin Lavigne in 2018. After winning the Grand Prix de la Relève (best newcomer) at the 13th annual Grands Prix du Design and one of ten Merit Awards presented by the Shenzhen Design Awards for Young Talents (SDAY 2019), Blanchette Architectes has completed nearly 50 architectural projects; the duo stands out for their focus on developing carefully crafted architectural narratives.
And Minéral is no exception, being designed as a wine bar by day to then turn into a nightclub after dark. This gave them the design team the idea of treating the architecture, light and soundscape like raw materials to frame the bar’s atmosphere at different times of the 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. The architect, Patrick Blanchette, notes that “before we reimagined it, the space was particularly dark and poorly lit. We had to work with luminous walls and facing mirrors to let the space breathe. The idea was to take control of the lighting.”
The team went with simple materials - wood, metal, leather and polycarbonate - as the backdrop for the venue’s dramatic lighting. The bar’s co-owner, Mathieu Ménard, is not only an entrepreneur, he is also a talented cabinetmaker, so it was only natural for Blanchette Architectes to bring him into the interior design work. The interior space is therefore organized around some impressive bespoke woodwork: the bar made from black-lacquered wood and the imposing, Japanese-inspired wooden ceiling structure. Finely crafted elements that are infused with light, showcasing the top-quality woodwork.
One of the goals 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.
“It’s a place for experiences, where light transforms the space and becomes a material. Minéral appeals to all the senses: we are bathed in light that shifts with the changing sound environment”, says Ménard.
A venue that brings together light and material to give patrons an experience that is architectural and unusual at the same time.
Project: Blanchette Architectes
Location: Montréal, Canada
Images: Atelier Welldone