We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.

Get the Magazine

Founded in Montreal in 2014 by Jeremy Bresnen and Mike Giles, Ciele Athletics aimed to fill a specific niche in the running world – lightweight and stylish headwear that performed as good as it looked. Initially a direct-to-consumer start-up, the brand swiftly garnered cult status among local and global runners and began distributing its wares through select sporting goods retailers around the world. Having evolved over the years to also include well-designed, high-performance apparel and accessories, the time had come for the sought-after label to open its own brick-and-mortar flagship in its hometown.

The entrance to Ciele Athletics in Montreal by David Dworkind features a bold and graphic mosaic tile floor
A wall of greenery in the entrance to Ciele Athletics in Montreal

After finding a prime spot in an impressive 19th-century red-brick building in the Griffintown neighbourhood of Montreal, Bresnen and Giles called on local architect David Dworkind of MRDK to transform it into a space that reflected their brand’s ethos and spirit. Graced with a number of street-facing windows and architectural details like exposed ductwork and original brick, the 287-square-metre showroom had an authentic industrial vibe that Dworkind embraced and enhanced through a few carefully considered moves. 

Photo by Alex Lesage

To immediately establish the brand’s dynamic identity, Dworkind had a custom-designed mosaic tile floor installed at the entrance; the bold black-and-white, zebra-like pattern was inspired by motifs found on Ciele hat brims and other apparel and lends a dose of energy to the vestibule. Vertical elongated white subway tiles run halfway up the length of one wall, culminating in a greenery-filled planter at the door and an arched alcove with exposed brick a little further inside, with the warm-red of the original brick providing a backdrop for a curated display of the store’s clothing and headwear. (At the end of this hallway is a community lounge where groups meet up before and after runs and can gather for events). 

A dark green lacquered wall defines the retail side of Ciele Athletics
The Ciele Athletics boutique features warm white oak parquet flooring and white-painted ductwork

Distinguishing the entrance to the retail side of the space is a wall sculpted with a series of arches and lacquered a deep green. Glass panes in the curved portions allow glimpses inside and let light permeate freely throughout the entire boutique. Ciele wanted an environment that can constantly evolve and display merchandise in different ways, so Dworkind responded by crafting display modules with painted millwork bases, white-painted steel vertical supports and stainless-steel bars and shelves that fit neatly under each arch and can be easily disassembled and reconfigured when needed. 

Walls with bull-nose edges and a lime plaster finish add texture and dimension to the Ciele Athletics boutique

Beyond the green wall, the mosaic floor transitions into white oak parquet laid in a classic herringbone pattern – the warmth and richness of which counters the crisp white-painted ceiling and exposed ductwork above. Wanting to introduce “a seamless and refined backdrop” for the products on display, Dworkind chose to apply a bull-nose edge to the walls, creating a sinuous movement and softening the corners throughout. In perhaps the most compelling maneuver, the architect selected hand-applied textured lime plaster (by Venosa Interiors) to cover two-thirds of the walls. “I like to work with different textures and to avoid drywall whenever possible,” says Dworkind of the decision. Together with the curved elements and the different lighting levels – including integrated LEDs, overhead spots and sculptural sconces – the plaster plays with light and shadow in a unique and characterful way. 

The same dark green lacquer on the entrance wall is repeated behind the cash desk

Elsewhere, fluted surfaces on the angular central island (a pre-fab modular unit from Brenlo that can be “fragmented into multiple pieces” and moved around the shop) and cash desk double-down on the rounded forms and strengthen the overall visual interest.

All those curves are also a direct nod to Ciele’s technical and thoroughly researched product: “The detail and care the brand puts into the merchandise is reflected by the detail and care of the boutique,” says Dworkind.

A Montreal Sportswear Brand’s First Boutique Elegantly Reflects its High-Tech Product

With rounded walls and textural lime plaster, architect David Dworkind crafts a dynamic interior for Ciele Athletics first brick-and-mortar location.

We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.