Planted in the heart of downtown Montreal, Spot Ville Marie is a mid-century icon. Built by I.M. Pei and finished in 1962, the industrial hub is an emblem of the Worldwide Design. Alongside a 47-storey financial tower, an elevated community plaza is created atop underground retail that varieties aspect of the metropolis’s expansive underground city. As part of an ongoing re-creation of the intricate, style and design company and imaginative agency Sid Lee have transformed a former financial institution corridor into their very own dynamic new workspace.
Located under Spot Ville Marie’s pedestrian plaza, the 7,300-square-metre place of work is a semi-subterranean room that spans a adjust in elevation concerning two downtown streets. With an expansive skylight as the only source of purely natural illumination, the architects took on the obstacle of making a light-stuffed, up to date business while honouring the plaza’s modernist bones.
To make the most of an unconventional house, the designers opted for a straightforward nevertheless dynamic structure that draws all-natural light-weight from earlier mentioned deep into the multi-level workspace. Nicknamed the “Biosquare,” a white grid-like composition of staircases —and communal seating — is woven as a result of the heart of the house. Accented by lush greenery, the mild finishes and open up format produce an ethereal, energetic ambiance in what may well or else be an enclosed, underground room.
Sid Lee revitalized the interior although preserving a lot of the present infrastructure. For case in point, peeling back again the carpet disclosed travertine flooring — which was restored to honour the authentic interior. Meanwhile, the skylights ended up in the same way stripped and enlarged in get to brighten the space with as considerably purely natural lights as attainable.
Re-interpreted as social spaces, the stairs that weave by way of the room blur the difference from a single level to the following, fostering a unified ambiance within. The unconventional structure also presents occupants flexibility to locate new and ingenious ways to make use of their surroundings. With no cubicles or assigned places of work, Sid Lee staff members can choose their have functioning environment — irrespective of whether that’s a traditional desk, a larger sized shared desk, a couch or a café desk.
To distinction with the brilliant white performing stations, meeting rooms consider on a stark stark black ambiance, make a calm and immersive ecosystem individual from the communal areas. In lieu of compensating for the deficiency of home windows in assembly rooms and private spaces — including the loos — the designers opted to emphasize the darkness with a luxe, moody ambiance.
As Sid Lee co-founder Philippe Meunier puts it, the venture is an physical exercise in bringing the firm’s “entrepreneurial spirit to downtown Montreal and creating an accessible collaborative hub for the city’s resourceful and small business communities.”
The new workspace also varieties portion of a much larger transformation of Location Ville Marie and its surroundings – all led by Sid Lee. Together with a thorough renovation of the neighbouring Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, the designers have also sensitively re-formed the plaza that surrounds the workplace, introducing new plant everyday living and greenery even though transforming a parking garage entrance into a community staircase and promenade. As a consequence of the drastic transformation, the community square has seen a spike in pedestrian activity, introducing a pleasant new vitality to what remains a handsome modernist showpiece.