Compiled by Pari Syal
Photography: Adrien Williams; courtesy the architect
‘Chaos’ and ‘confinement’: ‘intense emotions’ and ‘intimacy’ is the essence that characterizes the design of this bar and restaurant – Kinoya in Montreal, Canada.
Implementing this mindset into a pulsating space, interior designer, Jean de Lessard plays upon the need for community interaction to emulate in his design the primary spirit, function and aesthetics of the izakaya, where he plays with spatial configuration exploring design intimacy in relationships via different ways of occupying a space.
The notion of confinement is staged with simplicity using fractal geometry and the broken line. A boxy feel is generated to clearly demarcate the known/predictable (the outside world, the opening) from the unknown/unpredictable (chaotic enclosed interior, full of nooks and crannies).
Emulating origami folds, the interior envelope is composed of triangles of various sizes, crookedly placed in a random fashion. Wood from barns has been reused for its exceptional capacity for resonance, absorption and durability. The irregularity and angularity of the surfaces further deflects sound waves, helping to muffle the ambient noise.
Boards of hemlock and white spruce of different width and thickness are installed in all directions. If this strengthens the idea of chaos, on the other end the glued-laminated technique used for the installation provides in turn a perfect finish.
The uncouth-tavern style decoration is left to its simplest expression: the furniture and lighting were salvaged from previous Kinoya. Drawings and graffiti offend the eye and confirm the urban character of the establishment. Kakemono banners that are used to hide the street also perpetuate the Japanese tradition.
"For a space to become ‘Event’ or ‘Emotion’, it must generate its own energy. I designed an enclosed space that is totally focused on the business of partying. The design elements are deliberately oppressive or aggressive, so that it is anarchic, rough and where we are loudly heckled", explains Jean de Lessard. The vertical drop of 4 - 5 feet between the front and rear parts of the ceiling contributes to the cocoon effect.
Despite being cramped, the soft lighting and cosy atmosphere makes it a friendly environment, where the smell of wood mingles pleasantly with the aroma of mouth-watering cuisine.