Salon Urbain



Albert Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to Z… Imagination can take you everywhere.”

Logically, creating a lounge-style area out of what used to be a parking lot next to a famous concert and music hall is a good idea. That was the general concept behind Salon Urbain at the Place de Arts in Montreal. It is its architecture and interpretation and manipulation of sound into something tangible and functional that make it great.

Interpretation of sound into something tangible and functional? What does that even mean? How do we even begin to visualize that? The architects and designers at Sid Lee Architecture and Aedifica combined elements of waves, classic design, and modern innovation together to create the highly modern look of Salon Urbain.

Sid Lee Architecture has paired up with Aedifica quite often for numerous other projects, and—while there are many stellar architecture firms to choose from—Sid Lee was the right choice. Their motto behind it all is to marry architecture and branding into one truly unique and innovative structure that does more than be “just a building.” If you take a look back at other Sid Lee creations, it is obvious to see that each creation carries the Sid Lee style but truly represents the purpose of its structure.

Martin LeBlanc, Architect and Partner with Sid Lee, is thought to be one of the first designers to incorporate three-dimensional perspectives into his work and loves to utilize technology and lights in his projects.

Set right next to the Place de Arts in Montreal, Salon Urbain serves as a meeting and lounging place for those that are getting ready to or would like to prolong the experience of symphonic splendor from the Place de Arts. The spaciousness allows for efficient mingling of large parties, and, as Head Architect, Martin LeBlanc, states, “It really comes to life during events.”

You don’t have to be going to or coming from the Place de Arts either. This interesting space—with mood-enhancing, changing lights and spacious, fluid shapes—is perfect for any event or party and can even be rented out for the ultimate get-together. Even for those not looking to partake in anything that is happening over at the Place de Arts, Salon Urbain offers a meeting and greeting space that is both elegant and futuristic.

Undulating ceilings in lacquered and folded white metal along with uniform but abstract slashes of changing LED light cast a mysterious and futuristic glow upon a minimalistic space of hardwood floors and translucent red curtains (designed to remind you of something akin to a Femmebot cabaret). Every wall and surface is curved, no angles anywhere, making you feel as if you’re wrapped inside a song—sound waves and pulsating beats enveloped by light, but free to stretch and explore an open space of potential.

Described as a “hymn to art” by the designers, even the bar is designed to look literally like a sound wave, with curves and fluidity in its design. Bar stools that are more merging lines than substance and giant ceramic columns call to mind grandiose structures of yesteryear—which ground the whole design, harken to a hybrid of classically styled interiors and nod to futuristic modern design that’s innovative but still extremely functional.

The bathroom (yes, we’re going there) boasts multi-hued, Mediterranean-inspired tile panels that border a large metal sink with repetitive curves—further playing on the abstract idea of sound in physical form. Aside from the curving sink, the water closet is unlike the main room in that everything is sleek and angular—including the mirrored ceiling panels—but the minimalist and sleek approach, as well as red/black/white color scheme, is still repeated.
The true genius in the interior design of Salon Urbain is its ability to be unique and modern without any superfluous add-ons. Clean, contrasting colors in a curved room—with no apparent walls—that seems more of a circular flow than a confined space and simple furniture dotted throughout make this lounge a must-stop-by place.

It seems as if the very room of 475 square meters is vibrating and pulsating with the anticipation of music to strike. The only angles to be seen are in the simple and very modern couches scattered far and few in between—reminiscent of staccato notes that add interest and texture to an otherwise free-flowing piece.

Text by Ida Hsiang
Photos courtesy of Salon Urbain PR