The DNA Restaurant is not a conventional place; attractive, yet surprising, a split personality that is somewhat destabilizing, it is experienced literally from within transparent glass boxes.
Atypical spaces with strong identities are what we have come to expect from Bruno Braën. This time, the designer has moved it up a notch with a neatly packaged, well-controlled setting, minus the usual lingering feel of a construction site.
On the left is an entirely orange bar. The floor, the ceiling, the furniture, everything is orange. It is a bar and a lounge, a dynamic nightspot with just the right dose of glitter for its clientele, who are there to have a good time.
On the right is the more cerebral restaurant.
Inserted into a grandiose architecture typical of Old Montreal, it is perched on a raised platform where diners can take a seat and, through huge windows, freely savour the view of the street and the river. The platform, a sort of inside-out pool covered in tiny grey marble tiles, is enclosed in clear glass made by Formaverre.
It is a box, a room within a room, and how to approach it is unclear.
But once settled in, you can slowly take in the many details that bring the place to life: an opening through which slides a floor lamp, peculiar hanging lamps, irregular padding on the wall seats, the chair backs.
The arrangement of glass, windows and mirrors blur the view slightly, and some guests may prefer to stay on the sidelines, selecting the few tables located outside the "box".
Behind the bar is a slightly curved structure to remind us that Habitat 67 is not far away.
At times, it is hard to guess the various inspirations that come together here, but little does it matter; a particular atmosphere fills this room, but does not stifle the life within.
355 Marguerite D'Youville Street