Design marvel: Hiatus restaurant’s mid-century modern fusion

The interior design of Hiatus restaurant, located atop Place Ville Marie (PVM), pays homage to the architectural legacy of I.M. Pei, a proponent of international style and the original architect of PVM, while infusing contemporary elements.

The design is an ode to the mid-century modern movement, international style, with a keen eye for the “now,” updating the era’s signatures (e.g. wood panelling, reflective surfaces, and tubular metal accents) with contemporary elements, such as playful iridescent finishes, graphic floral patterns, and colourful stonework.

Led by Sid Lee Architecture in collaboration with A5 Hospitality and local artisans for Ivanhoé Cambridge, this project revitalizes the heart of Montreal’s business district on the 45th and 46th floors of the iconic 1 PVM skyscraper.

Hiatus seamlessly integrates the design cues of PVM’s heritage, notably the infinite grid. Cross-shaped hallways connect various parts of the restaurant, adding a dynamic quality as guests and staff interact, while the suspended ceiling echoes PVM’s grid structure, creating a sense of expansiveness and tying back to the international style.

The 45th floor, originally a mechanical room, has been transformed into a “speakeasy” experience. Creative solutions were used to overcome the challenges of a cross-shaped plan, limited space, and low ceilings, resulting in an intimate atmosphere. Guests on this floor enjoy panoramic views of Montreal through minimal ribbon windows. The design features mirrored mullions, celeste colour leather banquettes, and Lambert & Fils custom table lamps, paying homage to the building’s modernist roots. A vibrant floral carpet at the entrance also adds a fresh burst of colour and pattern.

A blackened staircase connects the 45th and 46th floors, serving as a visual transition between the two spaces. The 46th floor offers a striking contrast with vaulted ceilings and full windows, bathing the area in natural light during the day and city lights at night.

Lambert & Fils collaborated on custom lighting fixtures, including wall sconces mimicking the  façade’s texture and iridescent zinc-plated steel tubular light installations encircling the space.

Red oak tables and black leather chairs designed with Atelier Vaste are a nod to the 1960s origins, while contemporary touches such as the Mystic Brown and Rainforest Green marble tabletops, bring the design narrative into the present. The dining room features walls finished in the same wood essence as the furniture, paired with flamed Pietra Royal limestone and smokey reflective surfaces, providing glimpses for seated guests.

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