Montreal, Canada, 2013-09-02 -
The lingering aroma of spices, a profusion of colours and captivating shapes… Inscrutable and harmoniously chaotic, this is India. Created by the interior designer Jean de Lessard, the new Indian fusion restaurant Rasoï, located in Saint-Henri, Montréal, is a true heightened sum of sensations. “I wanted to recreate through shapes how I perceived the colours and flavours of the Indian cuisine while I was in London, a few months before I was commissioned to design this peculiar project”, explains Jean de Lessard.
To genuinely capture the Hindi spirit of the place, Jean de Lessard has combined geometric and organic shapes— the latter which are at the source of the country’s art and culture — and an assembly of new and on-site materials, saturated colours and pastels, contrasting matters such as silky and rough textures and finally an array of styles bringing to mind a European colonial past.
Now, since the framework of the project is contemporary, the design must keep such a merry eclectic environment focused on clarity and restraint, such as shown by the straight lines and clean surfaces used on the building’s façade.
Intense, but serene Barhat
Conveying the idea of a garbhagriha or a revisited claustra, the perforated yellow structure is the focal architectural element of the project. Positioned in the main circulation axis on the ground floor, the structure has a double function, that of integrating the original wood pillars to the decor and privatizing four contiguous dining areas. Paradoxically, this break-up point succeeds in keeping everything as a whole in a coherent fashion. The same element is also used in the basement as a reminder, in a space which combines a second kitchen, two reception rooms and administrative offices.
On the ground floor, and actually quite at home in this organized chaos, lies another strong visual element: the back wall, behind the bar, where the kitchen is located. It has been covered with wood panels of various shapes and thickness that have been installed at random to create depth and rhythm; shadows which are formed by the light hitting the edges and the uneven surface add texture to the already intimate ambiance. Further, according to the designer’s conclusions from his studies on shape, the symbiosis of asymmetry + symmetry initiates movement and visual contact elegantly.
Softness and speckle
Nature plays an important part in the life of the Bharatis whom know how to embellish their everyday life with floral and vegetal motifs. The decoration of the ceiling at Rasoï has its source in the plant world and refers to the ancient art of the henna tattoo. Incidentally, in this project, the chosen chromatic palette is meant to reflect Bollywood in all its splendour.
Plays with opacity make of this restaurant a living, conniving and warm place. Other than the yellow structure, the vibrant partition made of pink glass sparkles under the lights of the hanging mosaic Jaipuri lamps — these are handmade and come from the city of Jaipur, in Rhajastan, a city that is known as the “Pink City”.
Indeed, the smallest element of design in the restaurant bears meaning. « I think that Jean’s design is genial and authentic. It has something special and conveys an exotic je-ne-sais-quoi », concludes the owner of Rasoï, Rex Patel, who believes that the result perfectly illustrates the spirit of fusion of his establishment which, by the way, is already a must on the Montréal gourmet scene.
Client: Indian restaurant Rasoï, Montréal, Canada
Design: Jean de Lessard, creative designers
General contractor: Castle Reno (Paul Cantwell)
Artist : Atelier Isabelle Leclerc
Construction end : June 2013
Photo credit: © Adrien Williams
3,200 square feet
About Jean de Lessard
With more than 20 years of experience, Montreal designer Jean de Lessard has designed numerous interiors, particularly in the commercial and deluxe residential sectors. His eclectic skills have led him to work on spaces of a diversity of vocations including hotels, restaurants, offices and boutiques.
Jean de Lessard, creative designers is one of the world’s pioneers of the creative development of individuals and societies in office development. Having amalgamated in its design practice many professional resources and findings of numerous socio-economic studies, the firm creates in 2012 the custom-made approach “Duality of the individual and the community”, an innovative approach that focuses on the diversity of space occupation patterns.
In February 2013, Jean de Lessard receives the prestigious award from the Association of Retail Environment in Chicago. His projects have won him awards in 2012 and 2010 from the International Property Awards in London, Britain. He has also won prizes from Intérieurs | Ferdie, the Commerce Design Montréal competition, and awards from the Institut de Design Montréal.