49th Parallel Coffee Roasters
By : Ruscio Studio Inc.
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 15th edition
Discipline : Interior Design
Categories : Accommodation, Restaurant & Bar / Café & Food Concession : Gold Certification
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, based out of Vancouver, is recognized as one of Canada’s 3rd wave premium brand coffee roasters.
In January 2020, the company decided to expand to the Eastern part of the country. Their future site – a national heritage building, dating back to circa 1910, right in the heart of Old Montreal.
The designers’ challenge was 3-fold;
a- To introduce the esteemed Western brand and its core attributes to the Quebec market
b- To assimilate the brand’s existing industrial style with Montreal’s unique culture
c- To incorporate some of the buildings architectural elements into the design
Before even conceptualizing, one of the first things the designers requested was to strip off the many layers of finishes applied over the years to uncover and make an assessment of what architectural elements lied beneath.
A 100 year old field stone ‘load bearing’ wall was revealed and immediately earmarked as a feature element to the design. This feature 38” thick backdrop wall of the bar and lounge is the original stone wall that once divided the space into 2 separate properties. Additionally, the scuffed brick wall behind the banquette seating provides a perfect contrast of old industrial meets hip modern.
With the primary offering being exceptional coffee, the layout was planned with an oversized centralized bar, front and center, to accentuate the animated coffee making process. As the café also offers in-house handcrafted Lucky’s donuts, an open kitchen at the back was created to support the idea of freshly made donuts.
As for the design itself, there is an intentional tension between 2 styles: sleek industrial vs. hip chic. The hot rolled steel bar finish with cement finish quartz countertop, black ceiling, brick and stone walls and black metal and glass kitchen partitions all contribute to the industrial feel. Meanwhile, the marble finish quartz tabletops, accents of turquoise, verdant plants, vertical wood lath panels and brass highlights in both the caged bulkhead circling the bar/ lounge area and the polished retro bar stool chairs by the windows, offer a modern flair to the concept.
The design team also sought to incorporate the unique vibrancy of Montréal to the concept. What better way than to celebrate the city’s mural street art! Renowned local artist, Stikki Peaches, best exemplified the city’s “joie de vivre” spirit and was chosen to create an original 16’x 9’ mural on a prominent wall near the entrance. The now ‘instagrammable’ wall instantly delivers both a sense of authentic localness and the distinctive Montreal creative vibe.
Graphics were incorporated as a nod to the brand’s 1st significant expansion from Vancouver to Montreal. The striking decal “MTLVAN” on the entrance low partition glass is one of them. On the lounge black wing walls, a tone on tone graphic subtlety reads “roasted in the pacific northwest”.
Finally, with its unique donut flavors like ‘pouding chômeur’ and ‘Joe Louis’ it is apparent that creativity is an integral part of the brand. As a tribute to the brand’s originality, imaginative design elements, such as the electric fireplace console, were introduced. Spanning 8’-6” across the lounge stone wall, this piece reinvents what a fireplace is supposed to be!
The new concept was such an overwhelming success that the company immediately sought a second location within the city and even retrofitted some of the existing BC shops with the new design features from MTL!