People, says Montreal designer Alexandre Blazys, always look better in spaces that are simple and uncluttered. And when we look good, we feel more comfortable. Tasked with creating a stylish, yet relaxed interior for Dandy, a new Montreal restaurant, Blazys and partner Benoit Gérard delivered cheerful a space that is equally elegant and unpretentious.
The first restaurant from celebrated Montreal chef Michael Tozzi, Dandy restaurant is located in a classic Old Port building, with a sculptural Beaux-Arts façade in ocher yellow sandstone. BlazysGérard chose a retro-modern aesthetic that is reminiscent of classic New York lunch spots, such as Soho’s La Mercerie, and is an ideal complement to the existing character of the site.
The designers first interventions involved working with the structure’s existing fenestrations. The massive windows were ideally suited for a resto that serves only breakfast and lunch and the space is planned to maximize the daylight exposure in the dining room. The architectural details of the property were echoed with the addition of a pair of archways that frame the dining room and this curving form became a leitmotif for the project.
The dining room’s bespoke lighting borrows this same curvature: a mobile-like system of black bowed rods, fitted at either end with a white glass globe, floats above the two rows of tables, that line back-to-back banquette seating in a buttery yellow that helps enhance the sunny vibe.
The beamed ceiling above – added by the designers to help control acoustics – is finished in a reflective paint to help reflect light “boomerang-style,” says Gérard. “To us, light is another raw material. We play with it and sculpt it, just like any other material.”
Every restaurant these days requires a great spot to grab a selfie – after, of course, that all-important shot of a beautiful brunch plate. BlazysGérard delivered this essential feature in the form of a massive round mirror at the centre of the dining room’s far wall. A nod to the space’s former life as an insurance company, the circular piece recalls the vault that once stood on the spot and not only does it offer a great Instagrammable photo op, but it’s another way to spread the sunlight and pull it deeper into the space.
At the front, a peachy-orange service counter provides a place for customers to pop in and grab a coffee and croissant on the go, but once the warm and inviting space beyond catches the eye, it would be difficult not to slide into one of those sunny yellow seats and ask to see a menu.
For Dandy restaurant, from Montreal chef Michael Tozzi, local designers BlazysGérard have created a sun-drenched interior that enhances the natural character of a Beaux-Arts building in Old Port.