“Prize pig”: GH+A’s Hambar

The design firm GH+A, based in Montreal with another studio in Detroit, is the proud recipient of the First Prize for the interior design of the Hambar restaurant. Located on the ground level of the Hotel St. Paul in Old Montreal, the space was formerly occupied by the Vauvert restaurant, and prior to that by Cube. The restaurant now has a new name, identity, menu and design. Hambar is the brainchild of Philippe Poitras, well-known in Montreal’s restaurant circuit after spending nine years at Au Pied du Cochon.

The design mission was to shed the gloominess of the previous restaurant design and introduce a sparkling white, glamourous space; a trendy and casual spot where specialty cured meats are the stars of the show. Upon entering Hambar from the McGill street entrance, one is greeted by a dramatic full-height showcase that seems more befitting of an haute couture display, yet displays theatrically illuminated cured meats suspended from butcher hooks. Customers can either sit at the oversized communal table in the middle of the restaurant, at the molded wood slab bar, or on the raised platform along the windows overlooking Place d’Youville. At the rear of the space directly opposite the main entrance, an imposing wine cellar sits next to a full-height wall of mason jars with marinades and pickling juices. The charcuterie station is abuzz with frenetic activity as the on-site butcher tries to keep pace with the steady stream of orders. The majestic volume of sparkling surfaces, is tempered by masculine touches of leather and walnut within a convivial and always bustling urban scene.

About GH+A

Founded in 1985, GH+A’s visionary approach to retail design focuses on creating dynamic environments including specialty store design, shopping centre refurbishments, mixed-use retail programming and strategic brand positioning. With offices located in Montreal, Quebec and Detroit, Michigan, GH+A designs for a global market. For more info, visit ghadesign.com

About RDI (Retail Design Institute)

RDI is an organization of the retail industry’s creative professionals founded in 1961 to be a collaborative community where ideas, knowledge and passion would be shared at an international level and enable members to fulfill the fast-paced planning anddesign needs of retail. Membership includes architects, graphic designers, lighting designers, interior designs, store planners, visual merchandisers, brand strategists, educators, trade partners, editors and publishers, and students. For more info, visit retaildesigninstitute.org