Montreal’s Pastel Rita is a Wes Anderson location waiting to happen
Montreal’s Pastel Rita is a mix-used space that has been designed as both a cafe but also as an artist workshop. Local firm Appareil Architecture renovated the formerly-empty office space in the busy and creative area of Mile End. The firm has managed to differentiate the space inside the building by using green, pink and gold colour blocks.
The technique makes the venue feel like a Wes Anderson set design. Anderson, American director and widely loved auteur, is known for his distinctive style within his films and has propelled a fandom, unlike any other modern director. Pastel Rita is a shining reflection of this style, and with its charming rendering would not look out of place in any of Anderson’s films.
Cafe owners, and the visionaries behind the space, Gabriel Malenfant and Véronique Orban de Xivry, were keen for the building to house a multitude of functions and celebrate its hybrid nature.
The cafe and art space split its 1,500 square feet location into various sections with the use of several colours. The linoleum floor ties the space together as the continuous link between the areas. The cafe is a dark green area that runs through to a pink space for artists to create and display their work. The spaces are connected by a gold corridor that runs through the centre of the building and allows for a glimmering pathway. The cafe isn’t all forward-thinking, though, as the establishment’s name wholesomely pays homage to Malenfant’s grandmother, Rita.
Given the rise of social media and the endless stream of images of an establishment flashed across the internet, restaurant interiors have become more important than ever before. Pastel Rita toes the line of viral-esque style with its sophisticated taste and carefully balanced palette.
“We thought that Appareil Architecture’s cleaner, even contemporary style, combined with our desire for a colourful design, would be the perfect marriage, and it’s exactly what we got as a final product,” explain the owners, Gabriel Malenfant and Véronique Orban de Xivry. “Appareil urged us to visualise the space and its ‘flow’ in a completely different way than we had imagined. Now, we couldn’t imagine it being otherwise.”
The design of the cafe is its star attraction. The vivid colours are a huge pull for visitors across the world and should be a visit on every Montreal itinerary. With its bubblegum pink bench, it is reminiscent of Milan’s Bar Luce, an establishment designed by Anderson himself. But where the cafe really triumphs is its ability to keep on evolving.
Not only is Pastel Rita a cafe and art space, but they have also now begun to dip their toe into the wine bar waters, providing a selection of wines and Italian inspired plates, all finished with Rita’s trademark style. It’s a style worthy of the big screen.
“We tried to base our proposition on the core of the client’s personalities, and not only on the purpose of the space,” the architects told Ignant. “The two owners of ‘Pastel Rita’ are a colourful couple; Gabriel is a famous music artist with a vibrant clothing style, and Veronique is the owner of Bouquet, a handbag brand known for their colours. Therefore, the colourful atmosphere of the space reflects who they are as people.”
They added: “Pastel Rita is located in Mile End, a neighbourhood full of artists. We thought that these colour choices would be unique and would hopefully attract them. Each colour is related to a specific use of the space. So the soft pink aims to create cosiness in the seating area. The dark green defines the cafe area and the colour makes the bar stand out from the pastel atmosphere. The gold is used for the boutique to add a luxurious effect to the artisans’ products that are on a pedestal. The multicoloured result of the entire space attracts attention and stands out from the usual style of the neighbourhood.
“It creates a place where the creative community can meet without any pretension.”