Ivy Studio’s Piatti Redesign Is Forged From Fire and Built on Ashes

Things were looking up for restaurateur Gianpiero Morgia in 2019. He and his family had opened Piatti Pizzeria, a cozy but trendy space designed by Gauley Brothers in Laval, and business was booming. Taking its name from its progenitor, a long-standing Italian haunt 20 minutes away on Montreal’s North Shore, the new Piatti Pizzeria was looking like a sure-fire bet to become a long-standing haunt itself.

Then came 2020. With business already slowed by the onset of the pandemic, another blow came in the form of a fire that devastated the original Piatti in the early hours of a cold December night.



The fire left the interior unsalvageable, but the building’s bones remained intact. Once Prime Minister Robert Borden’s summer home, its century-old stone exterior and subsequent extensions held promise for the Montreal architecture firm Ivy Studio. Only aesthetic components had to be demolished, leaving a two-storey canvas merely smudged with ashes for the team at Ivy Studio to paint something wholly new upon.

Piatti’s redesign bridges the past and the present. It’s apparent in the materials, textures, and colours chosen for their traditional aesthetic: natural oak flooring, marble, floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains, ceramics, and velvet. The renewed interior channels its materiality into a distinctly contemporary setting that features a bar with custom countertop lighting, a monolithic black countertop wrapped around the pizza oven, and Scandinavian-influenced seating throughout its dining areas.


Even the menu, designed by chef Pierre-Jonathan Dutremble, gets a classic treatment thanks to the monumental green Saint-Denis marble oven that resembles those found in the Aosta Valley of northwestern Italy.

Whether it’s ripples in the stone or the curves of a light fixture, the space’s design contrasts with the hard edges of the building’s original masonry. It’s a feature that Ivy Studio architect and partner David Kirouac notes is as aesthetic as it is functional. “When you’re walking through a park, nobody takes the sharply cornered path. Natural curves create themselves because people prefer to take the shortest route,” he explains. “Bodies are made to travel on arcs. We work with curves a lot, but inside Piatti, it makes everything feel more fluid. There’s an invitation to go in.”


Although Ivy Studio’s main goal was to modernize a decade-plus old restaurant, Kirouac says his studio’s work is an expression of Montreal as well. Piatti features custom plasterwork walls, art by Venosa Interiors, and bespoke lighting from Montreal’s Hamster.

“It’s how Montreal sees an Italian restaurant. There are a lot of Montreal ‘codes’ in it,” Kirouac says. “It’s not simply something purchased online but a reflection of working with people locally to create something unique.”

Piatti is located at 2 Chemin de la Grande-Côte in Rosemere, Quebec.

Photography by Alex Lesage.