Piatti Pizzeria, a Canadian culinary institution on the North Shore of the Québec province, was the victim of a fire that ripped through the Italian restaurant more than a year ago, damaging the majority of the roof structure and interior.
Determined not to be defeated, its owners decided to give the space a facelift, enlisting the help of Ivy Studio to lead the new vision. The result is a design to match the delectable dishes.
Originally opened 15 years ago in an old stone building that was extended to accommodate a larger commercial space, the restaurant’s latest guise fuses its past with a contemporary style that is as eye-catching as it is inviting. It also pays homage to traditional Italian design – incorporating textures, materials and colours that are reminiscent of the Mediterranean.
Split across two floors, a staircase leads to the main dining area, kitchen and waterfront terrace with three distinct spaces each conjuring their own mood. This is the more modern extension of the building, where the outside space and terrace have been enlarged to bring in natural light.
The pizza oven takes pride of place. Who says appliances cannot double as statement wall art? Built of dark and moody Saint Denis marble, it makes for a striking feature. In front, a large curved black-stained wood and marble counter was made for propping up and sampling the signature Calabrese or Margherita.
Across the room, a pistachio green, hand-plastered, double-arched chicane leads to the closed kitchen. Meanwhile, a deep sienna velvet banquette floats in front of a fully mirrored wall; doubling the depth of the open space. In the centre, a patterned marble inlay breaks the continuity of the natural oak flooring. Separated from this main room, with a fluted glass partition, is an intimate space meant for more private occasions. It is just the place for a cosy gathering.
In the original stone house lies the U-shaped bar, covered with vertical oak boards topped with a 10cm-thick travertine slab. Dimly lit for added ambience, it sits below a hanging steel structure holding dozens of bottles. A backlit fluted glass panel makes them even more irresistible. Custom-designed stools are made up of the same steel, wood and velvet found scattered throughout the restaurant.
There is a big focus on lighting to set the vibe throughout. Symmetrically installed on the two wide mirrored walls, a series of thick ring-shaped ceramic lamps make the banquette tables glow. In the bar, an original vintage glass pendant hangs above the corner table. Each of the two marble counters holds several seamlessly installed custom arched surface lamps, meant for those intimate moments. There are big impact installations too: larger versions of the cream-painted cylinder lights are clustered into a bouquet, creating a unique chandelier above the central round dining table.
The layering and blending of materials is carefully considered. The long wall that follows the main staircase has a handmade plaster finish, as well as a glossy black ceramic that extends onto the marble pizza oven’s base. Further enhancing the intimate and homely atmosphere, floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains cover the cream-coloured walls. In front of this you will spot a series of three plaster paintings, designed in collaboration with a local artist to capture the essence of the restaurant.
From reinventing co-working spaces to restaurant revamps, Ivy Studio is garnering a reputation for putting bold and contemporary twists on traditional hospitality concepts. The design firm is all about breaking boundaries while striking a balance between daring and soothing –and it has demonstrated this with aplomb at Piatti. The project challenges the conventional aesthetic for Montreal’s Italian restaurants while celebrating the European influences that complement the menu. It marks an exciting new chapter for a pizzeria that feels like so much more than a place to grab a slice.
As featured in OnOffice 161, Winter 2022. Read a digital version of the issue for free here
Images by Alex Lesage