June 24, 2021

Atelier Zébulon Perron Taps into Nostalgia for a Montreal Pizza Restaurant

The restaurant features playful elements, such as a PAC-MAN machine. Photography by Jean-Sébastien Senécal.

Trends come and go, but pizza is forever. Knowing this, Anthony Gentile, a Montreal restauranteur and heir to the well known Café Gentile family, wanted to pay homage to the pie places of the past while propelling culinary possibilities into the future. To create a space steeped in nostalgia while still maintaining a contemporary edge, Gentile tapped local firm Atelier Zébulon Perron to create the interiors of Gentile Pizza Parlour. “Without being too cliché,” lead designer Zébulon Perron shares, “we wanted to honor the cherished memories Anthony referenced, like playing at his family’s arcade.” The resulting restaurant privileges warm tones to create an inviting atmosphere while evoking retro aesthetics. Explains Perron, “browns and golds are reminiscent of the late seventies [and] early eighties, and provide an almost cinematic backdrop to the space.”

Some of the old signage devices were maintained for their diffusion of rosy, subdued mood lighting. Photography by Jean-Sébastien Senécal.

The unique character of the original restaurant offered some inherently vintage qualities that the design team embraced, including a ceiling of rhythmic metal slats, originally designed for signage purposes, which was restored to its 1980s architectural grandeur. To accentuate the structure’s linearity, a continuous diagonal tile pattern covers the floors, walls, and bar adds a visual element that is both striking and contributes to the flow of foot traffic. Additionally, a juxtaposition of old and new materials, like marble and vinyl table tops and prefinished wood panels with backlit mirrors, were sourced from personal collections as well as classified ads to emphasize both the uniqueness and familiarity of Gentile Pizza Parlour’s design.

Amber glass dividers match the warm light that comes through the vintage glass fixtures overhead. Photography by Jean-Sébastien Senécal.
Contemporary interpretations of throwback references create a dynamic space. Photography by Jean-Sébastien Senécal.
“I think that we have succeeded in designing a welcoming environment that is equal parts architectural, unique, dynamic, and nostalgic,” says Perron. Photography by Jean-Sébastien Senécal.
Interplay between different textures enlivens the monochromatic palette. Photography by Jean-Sébastien Senécal.
The bathroom features cool blue and green hues, serving as a departure from the dining area. Photography by Jean-Sébastien Senécal.

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