Lightspeed Office

PrizeHonorable Mention in Interior Design /
Firm LocationMontreal, Canada
CompanyACDF Architecture
Lead ArchitectMaxime-Alexis Frappier
Design TeamJoan Renaud, Laure Giordani, Laurence Le Beux, Christelle Montreuil Jean-Pois

For its new global headquarters, a Montreal- based developer of point-of-sale software wanted two seemingly opposite things: room for a rapidly expanding workforce and the feeling of a tight-knit, nimble startup. To balance the past and future, the design team reinvigorated three floors of a historical train station and hotel , chateau- style building whose pointed turrets overlook a prominent civic square. Throughout, the space reflects the unique heritage and joie de vivre of the client and the locale. Contemporary interventions such as slick glass walls, colourful pavilions, vibrant furniture and graphic art — with murals by Sao Paulo’s Arlin Cristiano and Montreal’s Jason Botkin — juxtapose industrial, found elements. The layer of slick, wit-filled inserts pops against the roughness of the existing interiors and reflects the clients’ dynamic, creative and vigorous brand. The history of the client now infuses the history of the space. For example, three laminate cabana-shaped meeting pavilions dot the lobby. Each looks like a mini, high- gloss house, a nod to the client’s previous, much-smaller office, which was in a residential neighbourhood. The cabanas are adjacent to the “pool,” a kitchen-side common area that references the backyard swimming pool at the previous office. The aqua-coloured area has a teal epoxy floor and fiberglass stools with a waterlogged pattern, both of which make the area feel as dream-like as the swim-up bar at a fantasy resort. The new-old contrast, as well as the infusion of graphic, abstract lines and shapes by artist Jason Botkin, inspires a dramatic synergy that sparks the imagination and helps the youthful employees create. In the open-plan workspaces, stark white systems furniture streaks past the preserved ruins of industrial-age relics, soaring timber ceilings, garret-like nooks and elegantly frayed brick walls. From the humble beginnings of a home office, the client has now found its castle.