Projet Pilote – micro distillerie et micro brasserie
By : ACT architecture design
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 15e édition
Discipline : Interior Design
Categories : Accommodation, Restaurant & Bar / Bar, Lounge & Nightclub : Platinum Winner, Gold Certification
From the start, Guillaume Drapeau entrusted our firm with an ambitious task: creating an original environment combing a micro-distillery, -brewery, and restaurant into a single hospitable experience. With approximately 100 seats, replete with full kitchen alongside the afore-mentioned micro-distilleries within a space of 2,000 sf., Projet Pilote truly represents a first for Québec.
Situated in the vibrant urban neighbourhood of Montréal’s Plateau-du-Mont-Royal, the site lacks the usual characteristics of post-industrial spaces which typically accommodate such a large establishment. Nevertheless, the client’s vision requires cutting-edge technical equipment while also providing sufficient space to welcome enough customers to ensure the viability of the venue. Therefore, the challenge was to accommodate the (16) 1200L fermentation and service tanks for the micro-brewery, the (2) grain alcohol distillery tanks with an adjoining reflux still held aloft by an impressive 21 ft. tall column, all within the existing floor plate.
In order to recoup space for the restaurant and bar portion of the project, the technical equipment is placed on a suspended platform attached to steel structure. This positioning occupies the vast, underused overhead volume that typically makes it difficult to create a convivial space. A new, completely independent structure is created to support the tanks and the 20,000L of liquid they would contain. A series of glass-enclosed architectural frames along the platform bring rhythm to this catwalk, while the selected copper finishing accentuate the prominent tanks, side-stepping the usual, clinical aspect of standard stainless steel.
Per local law requirements, the distillery and brewery are separate. Wherein the brew-portion of the distillery is placed overhead, the former is placed within a distinct, glazed room with its own access from the rear of the building, while the floor has been also lowered in order to house the height of the reflux still column.
Lastly, seasonal, quality – and most essentially – local products are at the fore on the artisanal menu, all but demanding the inclusion of a rooftop vegetable garden. This crucial addition is twofold: by fully celebrating produce grown on the premises, this allows the restaurant portion of the project to minimize the required space for back-stock and cooking prep necessary within a compact environment.
Despite the technical complexity of the project and the omnipresence of malting equipment, the usual industrial aesthetic instead celebrates the organic and craft-inspired aspect of the distillation process. Thus, the inclusion of natural materials and forms such as oak wood, plants, and curves are highlighted throughout the décor. The open kitchen, the platform with the exposed service tanks, as well as the vertiginous reflux still, allow the customer to marvel at the artisanal expertise at the heart of the process.
The material palette offers two zones, whether looking above or below the horizontal line, separating the production and consumption areas. Deep blue, forest green, oak wood, velvet, leather, and terrazzo were chosen for the bar and restaurant in the lower half of the site.
Plants, oak wood, and a light green were chosen for the brewing space, invoking a pre-modernist aesthetic, while the curves and copper tones of the tanks conjure a more scientific sensibility, as if derived from a novel by the visionary Jules Verne.