A restaurant is a form of extension of the public domain: an identifiable place, ideally of high physical quality, where the ambience, the service and the table are orchestrated around the guests to create a mirror of urban life.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022

Project name: Brasserie Harricana
Studio Name: Alain Carle Architecte Inc
Project size: 5600 ft2
Completion date: 2014
Building levels: 1
Location: Montréal, Canada
Photography: Adrien Williams

Brasserie Harricana by Alain Carle Architecte Inc - Sheet1
View of kitchen ©Adrien Williams

The Brasserie Harricana project, located in an industrial sector of the Parc-Extension neighbourhood in Montreal, is an urban project in itself: it bears witness to the courage and vision of new young developers venturing into outmoded sectors of the city, where there is certainly reconversion, but often at a very slow pace.

The brasserie was therefore designed as a gathering place in the manner of a neighbourhood centre. The light spaces confer a “civic” rather than an intimate ambience. People meet in a classical context to enjoy beers produced on site and break bread with an honest and traditional cuisine.

Brasserie Harricana by Alain Carle Architecte Inc - Sheet2
Dining Space ©Adrien Williams

The name comes from the former restaurant of the developer’s parents, who lived for over 20 years in Amos (Abitibi, Quebec), where the Harricana River flows. The chairs and certain other elements were recovered from the original location, today abandoned because people there “socialize” less …

A point of special interest for us: the concept of the space was developed from these recovered chairs, too striking and old-fashioned to be left out in the elaboration of the place’s “identity”. The old pink leatherette and the cognac-coloured wood became the place’s chromatic palette, and the rest was spun out from this “anecdote”.

Brasserie Harricana by Alain Carle Architecte Inc - Sheet3
Dining Space ©Adrien Williams

The spaces are divided according to an existing subdivision resulting from the layout of a former warehouse. The rigid division of the spaces is made flexible by the insertion of a lasso-shaped bar that unites the different subspaces of the new layout. The bar is deployed on two distinct floor levels, creating two types of seating: stools and chairs! It is (finally!) possible to eat at the bar without perching…

The Douglas fir ceiling is deliberately designed distinctly depending on the spaces (dining room and bar) and offers a counterpoint to the white Carrara marble floor. The wood trellis on the dining room ceiling offers homogeneous indirect lighting, and the niches above, painted pink, conceal the work of an artist, a large photomontage made of “pin-up” cutouts, a nod to the offensive photos found in the old bars and taverns of Quebec in the 70s. The cut-out images are almost imperceptible with the addition of the wood trellis, leaving room for the imagination and speculation of customers seated below …

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