A sophisticated space that blends Art Deco influences with tactile materials.
After Appareil Architecture designed the Battuto restaurant in 2017, chef Guillaume St-Pierre turned to the architecture studio again to design Melba, a new restaurant he opened with chefs Alexandra Roy and Charles Provencher-Proulx. Located in the Saint-Sauveur neighborhood of Quebec City, Canada, the restaurant has a monochrome, understated façade that adds a refined accent to the streetscape. The studio used spherical lighting to highlight the exterior, making the restaurant visible from the nearby park and both its cross streets. Stepping inside, guests discover a sophisticated space that blends Art Deco influences with vintage French design cues. “We were inspired by the yellow and plum color palette of the old French bistros. We also envisioned an Art Deco-inspired space,” says Kim Pariseau, architect and founder of Appareil Architecture.
A warm color palette provides a counterpoint to the stylish details and tactile materials. The studio worked with the existing layout of the building, dividing the space into separate areas with different elements. Apart from a cluster of tables, there’s a long bench with large tables, including two round tables, and a central volume with a bar. Inside the restaurant, the central island with seating and a wine bar becomes the heart of the space. Made with a porcelain body with striking burgundy veins that remind of marble, the island also boasts copper-colored legs and edges. Like the central island, the round tables help to create a welcoming atmosphere that emphasizes the ritual of sharing food.
A harmonious blend of rich materials, warm textures, curved forms, and angular shapes.
Opulent details like glossy porcelain, copper accents, rounded cushions, and the semi-octagonal island complement minimalist elements and contemporary designs. At the same time, the material palette gives the restaurant an incredibly tactile feel: wood, ceramic, textured leather, velvet, and polished surfaces come together in perfect harmony with each other. Curved forms and layered pendant lighting also create a cozy, relaxed atmosphere, complementing the clean, angular lines of the bar and island. The kitchen features a frosted glass and wood wall with a central opening that frames the cooking area but also provides privacy. The use of wood adds warmth to the otherwise colder material palette of the kitchen, which features metal surfaces.
On this project, Appareil Architecture has collaborated with Studio Botté and Jacques & Anna on lighting design and with graphic design studio Criterium. Offering 36 seats, the small and cozy Melba restaurant welcomes guests in an elegant but warm and relaxed space that gives a nod to Art Deco, old bistros, and to the refined menu of signature dishes that infuse the contemporary cuisine of Quebec with French flavors. Photography © Félix Michaud.