The Most Beautiful Offices In Montreal

June 7, 2021
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Mavrik

DesignerFOR. design planning
PhotographerDirk Lindert
Size2,500 sqft
Completed2018

We got inspired by the word Mavrik (short for “Maverick”, a Texas free thinker rancher, the word now refers to anyone with an independently mind) to create the space concept: a modern ranch look, featuring raw materials such as exposed concrete and leather, mid-century furniture which is organic and timeless, and juxtaposition of cactus, to design linear lines that interpret this pioneer spirit.

In these offices of more than 2,000 sq.ft., a succession of layers separate public and private spaces: in the foreground, the open workstations; then the service area (kitchen, conference room) creates a first transition; finally a large block of walnut panels closes the public space. This long wooden wall also acts as a backstage to highlight all these elements in the foreground.

The high level of detail of the shelves, the bar area and the partitions, as well as the quality of the built-in furniture and the woodwork make this project simply exceptional and unique, like a real maverick.

Desjardins Bherer 

DesignerDesjardins Bherer
PhotographerAdrien Williams
Size1,400 sqft
Completed2019

Desjardins Bherer has developed the interiors of a mixed-use tower: The Brickfields, located in Griffintown. It was natural to settle there when it came time to relocate its offices.Newly owners of this 1,400-square-foot commercial condo on the third floor, they set their sights on a free space with challenges. Imposing columns, strip of windows in the west side due to the buildings below, windows following the roof slope of a heritage building in the north side, three ventilation units to conceal, acoustic deficiencies and plumbing already distributed.

A central volume is created. It allows to house the bathroom and the material library. Against this one, at the entrance, is the reception area. On the next side, alcoves are created to house large integrated libraries that will serve the studio space. On the third side will come the integrated kitchen, also open on the studio. Its islet enlarged the kitchen area and serves well to spontaneous meetings. It is by browsing this open C-shaped space that the panorama of the city is revealed. At the far end, behind a huge glass door, the bright conference room emerges, whose completely glazed wall overlooks the inner courtyard. Circulation and light travel through these spaces from one end to the other, without obstacles.

The color palette is neutral, the open area is punctuated by desks. The surrounding white color and the order give free rein to the creation in the studio. The ash desks yellowed by the years are now dyed gray. Visual and acoustic screens are custom designed to reduce the echo arising from the large glass windows and concrete surfaces. The integrated cabinets, all mat black, unite with the rooms’ doors. They create a set and connect the spaces together. The faithful suppliers are involved in this office showroom: fetish lights, vanity and kitchen dressed with a Quebec stone, furniture made by local artisans, works of art, carpets, etc. Items recalling the decor of the studio over the years unite with new acquisitions.

The result is a contemporary space with a meticulous and accomplished visual, with all the refinement that Desjardins Bherer usually brings to residential projects.

PixMob

DesignerJean de Lessard – Designers Créatifs
PhotographerAdrien Williams
Size10,000 sqft
Completed2016

The site investigation has thus given birth to an emblematic protean space in which raw and dynamic shapes enhance the cutting edge digital technology research and creativity, the client’s DNA. Upon entrance, one discovers the first source of inspiration: that of the primary energy, this hypnotic rave-like movement, through a vibrant yellow and black staging.

The design addresses both the designers, technicians and programmers requirements, transmuting the workspace into a unique platform of sound and light performance.

Special attention was paid to conserving traces of the labouring past of former textile factory of the Chabanel district, in the north-central area of Montreal — one would almost think that this ‘spatial recycling’ is reminiscent of anti-design — such as poorly hewn wood and peeling white paint. Thanks to the culture of the ephemeral-oriented design, the high-ceiling place has finally revived. The recent wall partitions made of pine boards keep the original dynamics. The same goes for those former openings that, once preserved, are devising a more desirable path to the chaotic nature of a creative workshop than that of a conventional working place…

Free movement is another key aspect. Knowing that vibrations affect the structure of things and the mind, the idea of sound propagation and of connectivity is emerging from a succession of open space rooms where 45 workstations and a café are placed. Priority given to the collective, closed offices have been limited to 10: administration, management, four meeting rooms, two of which are located in a towering second polyhedral monolith, a large conference room and adjoining the warehouse a third and last monolith that serves as a black box for the digital lighting programs experimentation.

In addition to space optimization, the two mezzanines help keep visual contact. Moreover, collaborating with Jean de Lessard’s team, the architects of the firm MU Architecture have ensured that each of the interventions and structures in this project with many constraints complies with Canada’s Building National Code. Like the sculptural staircases and the corridors, even the narrowest, the mezzanines reinforce the idea of networking between each floor and each area of activities.

This is also for light and sound-waves reverberation purposes. Sound waves travel through the air, are hitting obstacles, bypassing them and getting deflected elsewhere. The angularities of both the black monoliths and the yellow painted elements illustrate this vibratory principle. The entire space becomes music. As for the light which is at the core of PixMob’s activities, two skylights were reintegrated into the actual design as well as windows facing south to provide an adequate natural light. It allowed the designers to focus on setting an intimate artificial lighting, more conducive to creativity and celebration.

Eidos-Montréal

DesignerEidos-Montréal with la SHED
PhotographerMaxime Brouillet
Size60,000 sqft
Completed2019

After renovations that lasted over 18 months, EidosMontréal™—known for the global success of Tomb Raider® and Deus Ex® games—finally moved back into their workspace in September. The studio, located in the heart of Montréal and designed in collaboration with local architecture firm La SHED, now occupies an area of nearly 60,000 square feet (more than six U.S. football fields)! Its initiators see the project as a new way to envision video game production: at the intersection of creativity and community.

At the heart of the new space is an open staircase that leads to two floors. The common area is unique and reminiscent of a forum: a meeting place where narratives converge. Bright triangular light fixtures were installed on the ceiling to evoke movement, and chosen materials pay homage to the Japanese culture that connects Eidos-Montréal TO its parent company, Square Enix®. To achieve this warm, minimalist atmosphere, Eidos-Montréal teamed up with a specialized residential architecture firm: la SHED.

The studio wants to attract talent and expertise to cultivate their own know-how and innovation in a unique environment with the latest technologies. The space features a new motion capture and high-performance photogrammetry studio, a user research lab, a 4K projection room and a Dolby Atmos® voice recording and mixing studio, among the most cutting-edge in the industry.

Nordic Structures

Designer KIVA DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE
PhotographerUlysse Lemerise
Size9,092 sqft
Completed2018

Kiva Design + Architecture realized the offices for Nordic Structures, located in Windsor Station, a heritage building in Montreal, Quebec.

Canadian leader in the field of construction, Nordic Structures is a company dedicated to engineered wood products. For the development of its head office in a heritage building in Montreal, the goal was to highlight the Nordic brand image and featured products: cross-laminated timber and glued-laminated timber.

Made from Quebec black spruce, these products are normally used for building structures and hidden behind walls and floors. For this project, these materials were boldly used to create sculptural partitions, wall coverings, and ceiling elements to reflect the company’s innovative characteristics.

The space includes 42 open office workstations, 11 closed offices, and 3 conference rooms. The spatial organization of the office is planned around natural daylight, a rare feature in downtown Montreal. In order to preserve the building’s heritage features, the original windows of Windsor Station remain. A central core uniting the common spaces acts as an axis at the junction of the two wings of the building, which accentuates this meeting place. Immersed in a black and white environment, the wood elements stand out from the neutral canvas, creating a common thread within the space.

Akelius Montréal

Designerkl.tz design
Photographer Josée Marino
Size4,000 sqft
Completed2017

The company’s focal point is its reception area, which offers a first impression: you are visiting a company whose mission is to provide high-end housing.

A mixture of wood, concrete and steel sets a sophisticated tone from the outset, which is maintained throughout.

Understated wooden furniture and light fixtures made from copper pipes provide visual references from one area to the next, while copper also serves as a discrete reminder of the company’s construction activities.Two glass cubicles open into the reception area and also provide a partition, a private space to welcome visitors.

Several visual references provide a glimpse of various countries where this international company is located. Correspondingly, Montreal is highlighted through images of local architecture, tourist hot spots and geographical maps.An informal meeting area brings two round tables and relaxed chairs together to break up the linearity of adjacent workstations.

Various wall coverings, including straight wood appliques, black and white images of company properties and over sized vinyl, all contribute to personalizing the space’s visual vocabulary.All workstations are custom made without sacrificing look for technical specifications. Wood, a warm material, adds a bit of soul to work spaces.

Integrated glass partitions can also be used to mark down ideas, schedules, and reminders, jot down plans or write key phrases.

Open-concept workstation partitions are custom made to integrate into the overall concept without taking away from the polished effect noted throughout the office.A meeting/cafeteria area accommodates a kitchenette, coffee bar and large island that promotes meetings, communication and collaboration among employees.

A long, oversized bench backs against a wall and provides comfortable seating for longer meetings while muffling background noise.

Akelius Montreal wanted to create a comfortable place that radiated warmth.

To achieve this, the right balance needed to be found, especially between individual tasks and teamwork.Special attention was paid to the restroom area, as to integrate the sophisticated concept that reflects throughout the whole office.

Architectural lighting played the most important role in these spaces. As to define specific elements of the design.

SSENSE

DesignerHumà Design
PhotographerAdrien Williams
Size23,000 sqft
Completed2013

Situated at the top of 333 Chabanel in Montreal, the new SSENSE office takes an entire floor of a former textile factory and transforms the space into a modern office space, studio and warehouse. Both creative and avant-garde in their use of digital retail, Ssense was looking for something that could be edgy, contemporary, and luxurious.

We have designed a space that reflects their personality-logical, efficient, transparent and minimalist. The new refined materials act in contrast to the crude industrial shell. Inspired by the company’s graphic signature, we have created a minimalist black and white environment as the foreground to everyday business. The ceiling, walls, exposed column structure and even rusty pipes were kept intact like an artefact, as a background to the new architectural vision. The spirit of the project stands in the link between past and future. The concept is amplified in the connections and details linking the new architectural elements to the original structure of the building and the soul of the place. The space is made out of 2 distinct zones. East side: where the common spaces are to be found including a big laboratory kitchen, a play zone, a series of refectory tables and lounge spaces. West side; a wide open space, large enough for a hundred employees, contains a dozen 12 foot long work tables. The white environment of open desks is designed with a parallel movement of graphical, linear lighting.

Cinéphile

Designer APPAREIL architecture
Photographer Francois Bodlet
Size3,00 sqft
Completed2015

Design of the offices for a Montreal-based film production company with the goal to create a bright, functional and well-planned interior that stimulates creativity. The firm designed a versatile central work area surrounded by individual spaces. The place has a clean, warm and unique, and distinguishes itself through the simplicity of its materials. Plywood panels and steel work perfectly with the white walls and ceilings, while giving a slight industrial touch.

Broccolini Construction

DesignerFigurr Architects Collective
PhotographerStéphane Brügger
Size32,300 sqft
Completed2014

The building’s 1950s vintage inspired interior is both functional and welcoming. The approach to its design is simple, straightforward and favours an honest expression of materials and tectonics.

The four-level flexible office space holds most of the usual workplace amenities, such as individual offices, conference rooms and rest areas. It manages to register visual and physical permeability with glass partitions and captures engaging views across the space. It establishes a spatial coherence and promotes social cohesion by providing communal facilities – an angular wooden counter actually serves as the backbone to the design as it encourages gathering and interaction.

The use of a bold colour scheme explicitly communicates the company’s identity, works as a means of way-finding and ensures that each area within the building works with one another to create a unified whole.

Camden

Designer Inside Studio
PhotographerStéphane Brügger
Size32,300 sqft
Completed2014

The direction was clear: raw, innovative, flexible, binary, and welcoming. This established marketing firm, which has operated under the same name for almost 25 years, and now under new ownership, wanted to create a fresh identity including a new name and a renewed energy.

Getting inspired by a London district famous for its creativity, bustle, and vibrant streets, they wanted a new space that was personal and that echoed their vision. They wanted the noise, haste and creative energy to infuse their space, and enliven its users; hence their new company name, Camden.

The challenging square-shaped space was maximised to respect the client’s needs and budget. A black volume occupies the center of the space. This black box was designed to serve several functions: it gathers all the closed rooms together to simplify construction; its slightly skewed angle animates the space creating a visual dynamism, a captured motion, allowing natural light into the space; it’s angled position naturally creates spaces both for the work groups and the services.

Each room in the core is associated with an artist that reflects the client’s philosophy and spirit such as Amy Winehouse, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix.

The resulting space is raw, layered, compact, efficient, brazen, and will accompany this marketing firm to its bright future.

VICE Media 

DesignerMartha Franco Architecture & Design
Photographer Corey Kaminski
Size49,513 sqft
Completed2016

The Quebec head office for VICE, an edgy media outlet that was founded in Montreal, represents a return to roots for the company. The project is located in a former printing workshop full of history in Griffintown, an ex-industrial neighbourhood.

Given this setting, Martha Franco Architecture & Design, partnering with Roker construction, aimed to plainly emphasize the unadorned character of the building and to enshrine the group of journalists with similar unedited, frank character. Thus the design was carried out with a specific focus on functionality and bluntness.

With that scope, raw materials such as metal, oak and marble have been used to create an authentic effect coherent with the company and with the building.

To fit with the client’s specific workflow, open spaces were privileged, including long communal tables in wood and open meeting spaces. Informal lounge areas with private bar and banquettes substitute the standard meeting room.

Character and honesty, as conveyed through the materials used, the respect for the history and the original use of workspace, flows through the project, and highlights some of the client’s core values.

Genetec Headquarters

Designer FOR. design planning
Photographer Stephane Brügger
Size88,000 sqft
Completed2019

Genetec Montreal offices: When design impacts processes and productivity.

It is Effective Change that a designer firm strives to create. A space of coherence that embrace the nature of the company and create a space for personal growth for every single employee.

Genetec is a Montreal-based company specializing in security technology for corporate and public safety applications. It is currently doing business on six continents. In 2015, the company’s rapid expansion reached a key milestone when the number of employees in Quebec passed 600. The time had come to rethink the management, use and organization of the company’s spaces.

FOR. performed an in-depth analysis of the company’s operations and organization chart, working with Genetec on a strategy to transform the organization and its operations, work practices and approach to collaboration. The process affected workflows, the elimination of silos, branding, materials management, furnishings, general traffic and space management. This process made it possible to develop a truly meaningful place for users.

On this project not only the culture but also the product of the company itself has improved –dixit their president- and what was created, the synergy and the dynamic shift is now applied to their worldwide offices.

Based on the interior design concept formulated for the company’s Montreal headquarters, FOR. adapted the artistic approach to the different cities where the company has a presence, adapting standards for furniture, lighting, finishes and materials based on local distributors and each site’s particular characteristics. To date, more than 130,000 sq. ft. of office space worldwide has been designed with this concept: Paris, Singapore, Secaucus, London, Bruges, Quebec City and Sherbrooke.

Attraction Media

Designer Imperatori Design
Photographer Stéphane Brügger
Size53,000 sqft
Completed2019

The client’s mandate for Imperatori Design’s firm was summed up in one sentence: “Create a unified environment, heterogeneous, alive, where one would feel a positive vibe immediately upon entering.” Located in a classic Mile-End industrial building, the location had the advantage of having access to daylight on three sides as well as having a polished concrete floor with a beautiful effect. The constraints were rows of industrial ducts beneath the high ceilings along with a very tight 13-week schedule.

After observing the work habits of the future users and embracing the multimedia creatives’ desire not to be limited to a singular style, the designers settled on a balance between some structure and what might first appear to be slightly chaotic, which was ultimately very intentional, taking into consideration the various functions.

The U-shaped design studios and corporate functions benefit from natural light while the computer editing section occupies the windowless wall. Reflecting the “unified environment” objectives, the wide circulation areas enhance the fluidity of exchanges between departments. And as specified, the area dedicated to the well-being of employees has a place of choice, under the east-facing windows.

Numerous cubes and small alcoves with various configurations, placed throughout the open areas, make it possible to escape the ambient hubbub when the task requires privacy or calm (informal meetings, client meetings, phone calls, concentration on a specific task, unwinding, etc.). However, the link with the community is never interrupted since the closed work spaces include transparent, if not open, partitions of polycarbonate or glass. In addition to sculpting an architectural volume and bringing the impressive vastness of the loft to a more human scale, these strategic shelters meet the requirements of the mandate: optimizing freedom of movement while bringing the creation of a dynamic visual to the space.

The entrance opens onto a large lounge, adjacent to the room that welcomes both collaborators and customers as well as nomads wishing to sit, work, talk with a colleague or simply reenergize. A play of proportions is established between the concrete 12 ’ high ceiling and a grid of wooden beams fixed between the columns at 8’6” which has the dual function of bringing warmth to the space and camouflaging the indirect LED light fixtures. The lighting is therefore discreet and ensures a subtle but effective luminosity. The reception and the room enjoy a friendly ambience. “Employees, directors, customers, everyone loves it” shares a production coordinator.

In an effort to make the atmosphere as comfortable as being at home, the Imperatori team, in collaboration with LumiGroup, varied the light sources—indirect, radiating and focal—encompassing several types of lights: suspended, table lamps, floor lamps, directional spotlights, sconces and LED tracks.

In an eco-responsible spirit, and in order to keep the costs within a precise budget, the furniture is largely (75%) recovered from the old offices. With a few exceptions, the workstations, ergonomic chairs, armchairs, etc. come from local Quebec manufacturers, a priority encouraged by Attraction’s top leaders. Among the recovered objects, in the cubicle of the corporate department, we notice the Laurent suspensions, collectors’ items made by the craftsmen of Lambert et Fils.

Crew Collective

DesignerHenri Cleinge architecte
PhotographerAdrien Williams
Size12,000 sqft
Completed2016

Located in the old Royal Bank space on St-Jacques street in Old Montreal, the Crew offices is a project defined by a 12,000 office area for a tech start-up which would also include a café for freelance workers as well as for the public. The project presented two distinct design challenges: The first design challenge originated from the client’s requirements- how to elaborate an architectural relationship and construct boundaries between the various program functions. The second challenge became a deeper questioning on how to approach design in the context of a heritage building.

The complexity of the program required fluidity between the various work spaces. Part of the floor area was to be designated for permanent Crew employees, and was to contain conferences rooms as well as other office standards. Other areas were to be rented to freelance workers either by the month or by the week. These workers were to have access to conference rooms as well. Lastly, temporary workers or the public could also use the café and the desks for a few hours, having Wi-Fi access, and lockers for their computers as required. This environment was meant to create a flow and possible interactions between permanent and temporary workers, nurturing co-working in the tech community. The design was meant to facilitate this flow by creating transparent and translucent borders between the various office spaces. A complex series of glass walls were erected between the various areas, with a defined access to reflect the degree of permanency for each worker group. The existing bank teller stands dating back from the old Royal Bank were not to be removed. As a consequence, they were used as a natural border between the café space and the conference rooms, which in turn created a separation between the more public spaces and the permanent workers.

The teller stands as well as the existing building shell offered a great design opportunity, as a rich and textured background; a testimony to another era, which could thrive with a new function redefining its purpose. The 1926 building contained remarkably crafted elements: An inlay marble floor, an ornate painted plaster ceiling along with custom suspended brass light fixtures, as well as other brass elements including the teller stands. Confronted with this heritage ambiance, the design had to be carefully balanced to express, recycle, and respect the existing, as well as simultaneously allowing a contemporary discreet intervention reflecting the contemporary identity of the firm to exist. The new design integrated brass plated steel throughout, fixed to boxy minimal enclosures, in order to dialogue and contrast to the existing ornate brass elements. The conference rooms which were divided and compartmentalized with linear walls, covered with brass plated steel, and enclosed with glass partitions and a horizontal plane of a ceiling, by coincidence, ended up relating to the paper compartments within the existing free standing stands dating back to the paper days, when deposits were inscribed with pen onto paper.

The new design remains a kind of secondary feature, allowing the original building to be the primary feature. It is only by being in the space for a certain amount of time that one can appreciate the new intervention.

AdGear

Designer ACDF Architecture
Photographer Adrien Williams
Size5,000 sqft
Completed2016

AdGear – a fast-growing digital marketing agency founded in Montreal in 2010, and now an independent branch of Samsung Electronics – commissioned ACDF Architecture to design its new headquarters located on McGill Street, in Old Montreal. AdGear is a young and innovative firm, and they wanted ACDF to provide them with a functional space for the company’s 60 employees, that would play up the contrast between their historic setting and their and innovative company culture.

Originally built in 1886 as a dry goods warehouse, the property was transformed into office space in the late 1990s. ACDF developed the space comprised from two adjoining buildings using the party wall to designate two distinct zones in the office. On one side, a casual, open area unfolds, while the other side is devoted to offices and workspaces. Throughout the two floors, the rough red brick and stone of the central wall contrasts with new materials such as the new polished glass panes used to separate the individual offices. Like a mirror, the slick and elegant surfaces reflect and showcase the richness of the building’s rough clay bricks and wood beams. ACDF deliberately exposed the beams, stone inserts, the brick patterns, and celebrated their imperfections, enjoying how they narrate the history of the building.

They added sections of golden, textured wallpaper that provide the space with a surprising air of nobility and underscore the elegantly embossed tin ceilings. Throughout they created framing black walls – made from Gypsum – to provide contrast and create a velvet-like frames to the shiny wallpaper. Black chalkboard walls located at the center of the open space are handy communication tools for the employees, and whiteboard panels cleverly positioned against the surrounding brick, encourage staff to have impromptu stand-up meetings and give them the ability to literally write on the walls and take ownership of their environment.

One of the challenges with this 10,000-square-foot space was to draw natural light into the deep floorplates. By keeping an open floor plan and using the glass panels, ACDF’s design invites light from both the front and the rear of the building to meet in the centre and illuminate the space. The main staircase – clad in robin’s egg blue perforated steel – allows sunlight to pass through, further maximizing the natural light. The new staircase evokes the building’s industrial past, while its angular geometry nods to a more contemporary era. Bringing together straight lines with finesse, and sheer volume with transparency, the staircase plays with the different depths of its materials, continuing the theme of contrast that defines AdGear’s headquarters. The staircase also possesses a unifying nature: more than just a connection between two large areas, it encourages employee cohesion and team building.

ACDF’s design of this engaging, functional environment makes the most of the space’s brick-and-timber shell and historical features, while inserting contemporary elements to a create a thoughtful union of old and new, symbolizing AdGear’s rich and textured past, present and future.

GlobalVision

DesignerFigurr Architects Collective
PhotographerDirk Lindert
Size48,480 sqft
Completed2016
Photography by Stephane Brugger

GlobalVision is a quality control platform for packaging workflow used by thousands of businesses worldwide to eliminate errors on packaging, optimize their quality control and catch mistakes before they’re printed.

The transformation of an old industrial building into their new corporate offices highlighted an enrichment of the building’s industrial character.

This renovation grasps the essence of the past, makes a contemporary intervention, and creates an elegant and innovative environment that will last through time.

The goal was to create light and airy workspaces through exploiting the ceiling height and adding new openings to the existing envelope.

With the focus on enhancement, the concrete floors were repaired and polished, while the steel structure and deck were painted white and exposed. The recovery of the existing steel mezzanine grating adds a distinctive decorative detail and serves as a luminous filter wall, delimiting the central café and auditorium.

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