Grands Prix du Design Awards

The Grands Prix du Design Awards is an annual contest aimed at showcasing the talent of Quebec-based designers and architects. The contest is a testimony to the talent of Quebec’s design and architecture.

The winners of the ninth edition are:

PROJECT OF THE YEAR + INSTITUTIONAL

Académie Sainte-Anne
Taktik design

Distinctive for both its bilingual environment and its academic program, the school hired this design firm to create a flagship school that would offer children a stimulating environment for both their intellectual curiosity as well as their senses. This design firm is notable for going beyond the aesthetic in creating environments in which space relates to the human being.

The challenge in the Academy Sainte-Anne project was to build an elementary school of the future in an 1896 heritage building. The design team opted to open up the space to provide corridors of visibility. A colour scheme identifies the different activity areas, helping students find their way around. Every element is thoughtfully designed, from the customized furniture to the easily accessible storage units, which free up visual and physical space by eliminating clutter. The themed rooms offer fun and enriching environments.

The jury members praised the strength of this project’s overall, formal concept as an across-the-board success. From the adroit use of colour, graphic style, LED lighting and architectural details, the jury was unanimous in its acclaim. In line with the establishment’s vocation, the spirit of education resonates in the design. But it is especially in the way the space was repurposed, along with its modernity and interactive originality that the school is infused with magic. It has been transformed into a tangible tool for teachers, a limitless source of inspiration and expression to help stimulate children’s development.

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet
Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

NEW TALENT AWARD

Hatem+D

Hatem+D received the New Talent award for the diversity of its prolific talents and its noteworthy ability to incorporate the spirit of each client into its designs. The agency represents a shift towards a multidisciplinary approach, as it offers comprehensive services that include advertising, graphic, web and interior design, along with a complete set of architectural services ranging from design to building plans and worksite supervision. Their projects, each as different from the next, are distinctively original in their design, demonstrating, according to the jury, their sensitivity to the needs and contexts of their clients.

Photo credit: Hatem+D
Photo credit: Hatem+D

FERDIE STUDENT AWARD

Chrysalide
Catherine Boudreau

Chrysalide is the name of a centre for youth 12 to 18 years who have social maladjustment problems. This project by Catherine Boudreau won the FERDIE student award for its creative and sensitive design. Using the metaphor of the various stages of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, the centre is designed in three zones representing this progression: the individual, development and independence. The young people have access to areas that foster creative expression and learning, places where they can let off a bit of steam and informal meeting spaces and other rooms. There is an environment to correspond to whatever their needs of the moment. Chrysalide provides an ideal environment to help the young residents move forward and grow.

Photo credit: Catherine Boudreau
Photo credit: Catherine Boudreau

RESIDENTIAL

Residential Space, 1,600 sq. ft. or less award
7-Plex
atelier big city

Entering this housing unit is like entering a vividly coloured living environment of geometric units. where functionality is expressed as pure form. The spatial organization is characterized by sculptural, functional shapes, which break down traditional, confining closures and create a spatial openness for everyday living spaces. Walls and modules are designed like furnishings. Finished in laminated wood, they are fashioned as simple volumes. Hardware is concealed to reduce, or even hide, any reference to the workings of everyday life and to preserve the purity of the volumes. The subtle management of colour enhances the understanding of the environment and adds to the appreciation of the sculptural and abstract qualities of the shapes within. A play of openings in the volumes allows visual connections to be made between certain distinct spaces. The skillful treatment given the communicating areas as well as the overall daring and dynamism of the design is what caught the jury’s attention.

Photo credit: Brittain
Photo credit: Brittain

Residential Space, 1,600 to 3,200 sq. ft. Award- EX-AEQUO
En Suspension
_naturehumaine

A brother and sister, both athletes, share this apartment that occupies the two top storeys of a Montreal building. The floor separating the two levels was removed, creating a wide-open space containing large, brightly lit common areas offering great freedom of movement. Two large boxes, adorned with unfinished plywood panels, each containing a bedroom and a bathroom, appear to be suspended in mid-air, separating the space and thereby creating three distinct gaps. The central gap has been turned into a physical exercise room, complete with a pair of gymnastics rings suspended from the ceiling and an exercise bar mounted on the wall. The white walls, black cupboards and grey floor create a neutral backdrop that allows the wooden bedroom cubes to stand out. Yellow and turquoise provide pops of colour in this dazzlingly understated environment. The jury was won over by the extraordinary play of volumes and the interesting use of materials to define the space. They also noted the imaginative reconfiguration of the two levels and the solutions offered for the particular needs of the occupants.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Residential Space, 1,600 to 3,200 sq. ft. Award- EX-AEQUO
La Chèvre
Atelier Pierre Thibault

Like a mountain goat perched on a hillside, the house is anchored on a steep slope at the forest’s edge. To merge this project into the landscape, the designer adapted its shape to the ground and did not exceed two floors. The house takes form in several volumes, each of which houses a distinct function and benefits from a unique and magnificent view of the exterior panorama.The different spaces are connected one after another, creating dynamic patterns of circulation, moving from introverted to open spaces. Because the house is in close relationship with its surrounding vegetation, the layout is minimalist, with the landscape providing an artful backdrop. As massive and opaque from the outside as it is open and airy from the inside, the project features an omnipresence of wood as a primary material—a judicious choice that was noted by the jury, who cited its harmony with the natural context. Also commended were the guardrails made of glass, allowing unimpeded views of the majestic scenery. Well structured and organized, Atelier Pierre Thibault’s La Chèvre was honoured with the Residential Space, 1,600 to 3,200 sq. ft., award, ex-aequo.

Photo credit: Alain Laforest
Photo credit: Alain Laforest

Residential Space, 3,200 sq. ft. or more award• EX-AEQUO
La Héronnière
Alain Carle Architecte

La Héronnière was designed according to the principles of upcycling, or reusing or recycling waste to create an object of value through the artist’s poetic intervention. The clients were a young family with two children, who wanted a house that would represent their values and desire to live in a natural setting, in harmony and in symbiosis with the site, which would be the “host.” They provided the architects with a list on non-negotiable environmental requirements. One example of the application of this principle is the design of the kitchen/dining area, with its unconventional counter arrangement, which was placed at the heart of the home. A small greenhouse was attached to this space in continuity with the big bay window on the southwest side, to conserve seeds from outdoor crops during the fall to prepare for sowing during the winter. The result of this conceptual approach is an utterly unique home of stunning beauty. Among other elements, the jury commented on the innovative sliding wall, the stairway as object, and, particularly, the sculptural quality of the space. In addition to these attributes must be mentioned the exceptional sense of communion with the wooded landscape through the big bay windows and the thoughtful layout of the various living spaces over two levels. The home is truly a revolutionary, yet completely aesthetic, demonstration of sustainability.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Residential Space, 3,200 sq. ft. or more award• EX-AEQUO
Le chic au naturel
Desjardins Bherer

The Chic au Naturel project is a radical departure from your traditional country cottage. In this complete redesign of a 1950s building, Desjardins Bherer opted for a natural, monochromatic interior that exudes both discreet, luxurious rusticity and up-to-the-minute design. From the entrance of this neutral-toned space, the transparent wine cellar and brightly coloured bar act as visual magnets, inviting one to step into the expanded kitchen—a convivial room in which the owners frequently entertain family and friends. Sensual and refined, the bleached American white oak walls offer a soft contrast with the anthracite-coloured wood flooring. Light pouring in from the myriad large windows is reflected off the various timber finishes, attenuating their differences and unifying the surfaces. The transparent guardrail on the stairway, absence of baseboards and concealed secondary doors lighten the architecture and create a soothing, relaxing atmosphere. The eye freely moves from one art piece to the next in this uncluttered, airy space. The jury particularly appreciated the canny play of light, textures and materials that act as foil to the formal structure, revealing all the subtlety of the decor.

Photo credit: Punk Studio
Photo credit: Punk Studio

KITCHEN AWARD
Espace Panet
Anne Sophie Goneau Design

The inventive integration of storage features into the decor without compromising on functionality is what swayed the jury in Anne Sophie Goneau’s sleek, aesthetic kitchen makeover. The designer’s stamp is revealed in the space’s straight, clean lines, ambiguity of spatial boundaries, and modern elegance. Concealing the usual kitchen clutter and confusion is a block of gloss grey cabinets aligning the painted brick wall all the way to the office area, which is artfully located behind a glass partition. The volumes are in natural balance. The central white island anchors the kitchen, which has a warm ambiance thanks to soft lighting, in contrast with the dazzling light that pours into the dining room. A sense of refined aesthetics and precision, attention to detail in the lighting, and unconventional, inspired choices of tone on tone add to the overall lightness of a space that invokes a feeling of floating.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

BATHROOM AWARD
Bank
Atelier Moderno

The bathroom in the Bank residence designed by Atelier Moderno is a place of serenity and refinement. The architectural firm’s signature aesthetic can be found here in its mastery of integration between object and space, and the almost quasi-philosophical sensitivity to the lifestyle of its clients it brings to every project. The space envelops us in an atmosphere of comfort and quiet relaxation. A modern aesthetic and minimalism predominate in this room where structural elements artfully conceal bathroom paraphernalia and accessories. The project brings out the essence of beauty. The bathtub is placed like an oasis between sleek walls. The transparent, tinted shower walls contrast with the opaque teak bathroom vanity. The openings and relationship with the other areas, along with the subtle play of volumes and balance between curved and angular lines, create coherence throughout the space. The way lighting has been used gives rise to a sense of cleanliness. The creativity and innovation used in this project have resulted in a pure, peaceful and inviting space.

Photo credit: Stéphane Groleau
Photo credit: Stéphane Groleau

Model Apartment or House award
Brickfields Sales Office
Architecture Open Form, Desjardins Bherer et Maître Carré

Is it a container? A billboard? A model home? This sales office is all that and more. To make sure the project name and model interior of the Brickfields condo tower really stood out, the designers had the idea to raise it on pylons. Its presence is striking. At night, against the light emanating from inside, the project name really pops out, turning it into a de facto billboard. The jury was particularly attracted by this dual function. Inside, the space is meticulously arranged, emulating the interior of one of the condos: everything has been carefully considered, down to the last detail. But the space also had to fulfill its function as a sales office. The living room, then, serves as a reception hall, where various screens project conceptual images of the project, the kitchen counter provides a surface where plans and samples can be viewed, and the dining room, separated by a glass partition, offers a more isolated area for private discussions. The ambiance inside is inviting and showcases materials used in the condos, and from the large windows facing the park, visitors can get a glimpse of the view from the new apartments. The entire sales office is mobile and could even be reused for another project. 

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Terrace award
Terrasse-D-L
Martine Brisson designer d’intérieur

This large terrace runs along the length of the house. In the middle is a bench seat, around which is arranged kitchen equipment, in the front, and a rectangular swimming pool, in the back. This central block of seating also functions as a storage unit. The pool benefits from full sunlight, and a canopy of louvered beams suspended from painted aluminum frames covers the kitchen area, providing shade and diffuse amber light. Shuttered slats on the side isolate the terrace from the neighbouring property.

The various shades of wood contrast nicely with the metal accents. And the sweeping lines and nuances hues harmonize perfectly with the cladding of the main building. Spacious and well proportioned, this outdoor terrace adds to the beauty of the interior space, which is visible through the glass doors. A stairway that ends in massive flagstones flows into an inviting pathway on the ground.

Photo credit: Marc Cramer
Photo credit: Marc Cramer

COMMERCIAL

Commercial Space, 1,600 sq. ft. or less award
Némeau
jean de lessard, designers créatifs

Designing a fish shop was a first for Jean de Lessard, designers créatifs. But this firm was thrilled to take on this fanciful project, which awakens a childlike sense of curiosity and discovery. Referencing Jules Verne’s adventure novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the designers created a modern setting. Creating a vibrant and colourful space whose primary objective was to add value to the products and attract customers to the variety of fish and shellfish using exploration and discovery, nevertheless presented many challenges. Shopping at this store was designed to be a journey of the senses around displays brimming with fresh products, which would facilitate interactions between staff and customers. The space was exploited to great effect through shape, colour, horizontality, verticality and transparency. The sculptural glass elements shaped like prisms represent the refraction and reflection of light in a deep ocean world. Whimsical and fun, the design is true to the pioneering spirit of Jules Vernes and offers a shopping experience like no other.

Photo credit: Imagicom
Photo credit: Imagicom

Commercial Space, 1,600 to 5,400 sq. ft. award
Frank & Oak: Montreal – Stanley Street
KANVA

The collaboration between the KANVA design firm and the men’s fashion brand Frank & Oak is a beautiful example of a meeting of elegant minds. The renowned clothing company retained this team of architects, which, for the last 10 years, has been creating spaces that have a narrative and that are markers of the city’s contemporary culture, to design its flagship 5,200 sq. ft. store located in the heart of Montreal. The architectural transformation uses the verticality of the new open atrium to unify and give coherence to the space’s multiple functions. The store on three levels houses a clothing boutique, a barbershop and a café. The interior strategy showcases the building’s original palette of brick and steel, creating a rich contrast with Frank & Oak’s more refined products.Another layer of warmth is characterized by white oat accents, of which the most notable are the staircase and the clothing displays. This exceptional space has made the store a place to meet people and hang out. The quality of the design provides an experience of harmony and refinement that feels like a most natural fit.

Photo credit: Marc Cramer
Photo credit: Marc Cramer

Commercial Space, more than 5,400 sq. ft. award
Uniprix Kieu Truong
jean de lessard, designers créatifs

This design, with its layout that is as fascinating as it is radical, is a completely new and refreshing take on the traditional pharmacy. Wanting to reflect the human side of the profession to make the pharmacy an empathetic place, the designer organized the space in such a way as to promote harmony and a smooth circulation of the energy flow by applying various principles of feng shui and bathing the store in light. The pharmacy is laid out in a circle around the laboratory, which is positioned in the north section, where soft natural light comes in through large windows. The carefully considered placement of the furniture—high furniture is positioned at the periphery and low-profile units offer an unobstructed line of view of the laboratory—makes the pharmacists more accessible and challenges existing notions of this type of superstore. The pastel colours, lighting and library-style display shelving charmed the members of the jury, who presented the Commercial Space, more than 5,400 sq. ft. award in the Commercial category to this project by Jean de Lessard, designers créatifs.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Department Store award
Simons Gatineau
LEMAYMICHAUD Architecture Design

The architecture for the new La Maison Simons location in Gatineau by LEMAYMICHAUD features pure shapes. The design concept for both the interior and exterior is inspired by fabric.A textured, iconic Prince of Wales pattern, highlighted with threads of the Simons green, is carved into the facade of precast white concrete. Inside, it might have been easy to lose the holistic relationship between the nine different departments that cohabit in the store. To solve this, LEMAYMICHAUD used different colours and unique materials to mark out each one, creating warm and welcoming spaces that are harmoniously ͚woven͛ together. An aluminum mesh sculpture, which appears to spill down from the ceiling anchors the inspiring interior. The boutiques aimed at a young clientele explode with energy, while the departments for more mature shoppers exude chic, modern elegance. In the men͛s departments, pure lines and raw materials predominate, contrasting with the geometric textures and floral carpets in the women͛s section. Black and white tiles also aid the transitions between the men͛s and women͛s departments. The jury was won over by the minimalist yet daring approach.

Photo credit: Stephane Groleau
Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

Showroom award
Salle d’exposition Artopex à Québec
Lemay

The Lemay architecture firm has designed a second showroom for the office furniture brand Artopex. After unveiling its Old Montreal shop in 2013, Artopex opened this showroom, located in a 370-square-metre space in the trendy Saint-Roch neighbourhood of Quebec City. Lemay was mandated with developing the interior concept to showcase the company’s products while enhancing the 20th-century building and evoking the historic identity of the Granby-based family business. To reflect Artopex’s values and deep Quebec roots, Lemay revisited the concept of a ribbon of images depicting the province’s varied landscapes. Adorning the wall and ceiling, these images guide the visitor through the space. A pixelated treatment keeps the feature from becoming too distracting and allowing the focus to remain on the furniture. Assorted lighting fixtures and an LED backlit mural, along with podiums and platforms of varying heights bring a dynamic energy to the circuit and contribute to an enhanced visitor experience. There is a predominance of wood and natural steel, which harmonize well with the contemporary furniture collections. The jury remarked that the showroom reflects the company’s values well and is an asset to the neighbourhood. It ably translates the excellent ideas developed in the Montreal showroom to the Quebec City space.

Photo credit: Claude Simon Langlois
Photo credit: Claude Simon Langlois

Shopping Centre award
Les promenades Gatineau
Pappas Design Studio

Founded in 1993, the Pappas Design Studio architectural firm is a Canadian leader in commercial design. This company was mandated with the major renovation of the Les Promenades Gatineau shopping centre. In the order of $110 million, the upgrade involved adding 20,000 sq. ft. to the northern section of the mall, expanding the food court, increasing the seating capacity, creating better visibility for the restaurants, and improving accessibility. Since the fall of 2015, clients have been enjoying a new, revitalized and spacious culinary destination. Opting for pure, timeless lines, the Montreal firm designed custom counters, seating, low walls and lighting, with a view to giving rhythm to the space. A neutral palette, including glossy white and anthracite tiles combined with textures of light wood and quartz, defines the different areas, and bright orange accents on the lamps and furniture add zing to the overall look. The jury commented on the project’s harmonious colour scheme that admirably complements the design, along with interesting details in the signage. They commended the shopping centre’s spacious revamp.

Photo credit: Yves Lefebvre
Photo credit: Yves Lefebvre

RECREATIONAL-FACILITY-AND-EXHIBITION-SPACE
Mélamine Animée
Jean-Maxime Labrecque, architecte

This project’s major strength is that it is almost entirely made out of the same basic material: black, 4 ft. x 8 ft. melamine panels. Determined by the project’s bare-bones budget, this strategy was used to great effect by the architect. The goal was to create a temporary environment to display clothing and fashion accessories. To add to the challenge, it had to be installed on the sloping floor of the former Parisien movie theatre. In this temporary exhibit, the designer used this basic material in myriad creative ways. Assembled as cubes, the panels served as tables to display clothing on a flat surface (these were made out of 6 ft. x 12 ft. panels). Along the walls, they morphed into changing rooms, and, with the addition of simple steel structures, hanging-garment units. These same panels accommodated transactional and storage areas. It was the project’s simplicity that won over the jury, both in its imaginative design and its ability to serve the dual function of showcasing the clothing and organizing the practical aspects of the space.

Photo credit: F Bouchard
Photo credit: F Bouchard

RESTAURANT + BAR

Restaurant, 2,000 sq. ft. or less awar
Bar à lait Natrel
lg2boutique

Hot, cold, flavoured or in coffee, no matter what the latest trend, milk will always have its fans. To engage more closely with its customers, Natrel joined forces with the Java U café chain to create its first-ever Natrel Milk Bar. Thus was born a unique concept, where consumers are immersed in a world of dairy, from both the milk bar’s visual and architectural elements to its menu. The approach is whimsical; the decor brims with milk imagery. Neutral finishes with carefully considered black contrasts allows the expression of milk white to play a central role. The intimate seating areas lined up on one wall are in the shape of milk cartons, like little houses. Other fanciful details include splashes of white milk painted on the walls and ceiling, and lighting fixtures that resemble opaline milk drops. The brand’s highly graphic approach is firmly anchored in its environment; the shop also features a boutique selling branded clothing and accessories that draw heavily from Montreal icons. From the space to the brand and signage, this successful project demonstrates imagination at every turn.

Photo credit: Hans Laurendeau
Photo credit: Hans Laurendeau

Restaurant, 2,000 sq. ft. or less award
Restaurant O’Noir Prince-Arthur
L’Empreinte Design Artisanat

The concept behind Restaurant O’Noir is to have patrons dine in complete darkness. Without sight, the remaining senses are heightened to fully savour the smell and taste of food. The design challenge was to come up with economic solutions and to alter the structure of some of the floor levels to create rooms that were dark, but also safe. Focusing on the sensory experience, the designers honed in on the qualities of comfort, relaxation, interaction and a stimulating visual ambiance. The use of rustic wooden beams brings a bold and whimsical look to the space. While symbolizing patterns of braille, these beams also appeal to a spirit of openness by evoking age and imperfection, according to the Japanese aesthetic and spiritual principles of wabi-sabi. The jury noted the coherence of the project with its vocation in terms of space, materials, texture, appropriate injections of red here and there and the use of black for a calming effect. For its renovation of the Restaurant O’Noir, L’Empreinte Design Artisanat was honoured with the Restaurant, 2,000 sq. ft. or less award.

Photo credit: Pier-Olivier Lepage
Photo credit: Pier-Olivier Lepage

Commercial Terrace award
Cosmos LB9 Terrasse
Perron design – Nathalie Perron designer

The Cosmos café in Quebec City has become something of an institution, and in 2015, it opened a fourth location in the Lebourneuf district of the city. With an investment in the order of $3.8 million, the Cosmos LB9 includes a huge 174-seat terrace. Interior designer Nathalie Perron was given the challenge of creating an avant-garde concept for the terrace that would be an extension of the new resto-bar. The owner’s wish was for it to be unlike any other establishment of its kind and for her to look at what was being done elsewhere in the world. To fulfill the mandate, Perron drew much of her inspiration from the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair, where she ended up buying much of the lighting and furniture. She also integrated new deco-design trends into the signature Cosmos café look, resulting in an effervescent intermingling of styles. The jury found the result zany, fresh and playful, with a hint of Gypsy, but, especially, eclectic. A refreshing, if innovative, touch of madness. Beautifully organized chaos! The organic shapes found in the walls recall the cells of a hive, and seating made from tree trunks contrast with the surrounding textures, and copper is juxtaposed with the exotic colour palette. “A real experience,” concluded the jury.

Photo credit: Mammouth 3
Photo credit: Mammouth 3

CAFÉ AWARD

Mamie Clafoutis
LEMAYMICHAUD Architecture Design

A neighbourhood bakery was revamped to provide a homey, welcoming experience. The owners of the most recent Mamie Clafoutis location wanted to offer their patrons bread, certainly, but also a space where they could enjoy a quiet meal and linger over a cup of coffee. The environment is modern, but a multitude of elements pop out to distinguish this coffee shop from what might have ended up like so many others. Many of the decor details are nods to the quaint charm of period country cottages. Deftly handled, this subtle allusion to another age is actually a contemporary reinterpretation of traditional elements. It is most notable in the strips of eclectic, patterned wallpaper, which are artfully arranged on one wall and the ceiling, the pristine white piano, and the wall of judiciously mismatched rough wood beams. There are distinct zones, inviting customers to wander around, work or just hang out. From the attractive counter space to the large dining table and cosy table-for-two corner, the various secondary spaces provide ideal niches for foodies and workers, and both young and not-so-young patrons.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

GOURMET MARKET AWARD

Le Richmond Marché italien
Luc Laroche

With its exposed wood structure, brick walls, iron and steel furniture, marble and wood tabletops, this new space smacks with authenticity. In the centre of the room, the food display counter is the main attraction. It is flanked by two other cases—one a wine cellar, the other for aging meats—and a cheese counter. All the products on sale can be sampled at the adjacent bistro tables or the counter-island where patrons can sit. From the traditional pattern of the black and white mosaic tile floor to the wood ceiling bathed in light from projectors perched on the beams, everything about the ambiance is polished. Hanging chandeliers provide an old-world touch that completes the nod to nostalgia. The jury swooned over the warmth and inviting nature of the space, noting that the structure and interior elements did not overpower but rather served to enhance the food, the true star of the establishment. This sumptuous bistro-market channels the soul of an authentic Italian food market, and the visual (as well as culinary) feast is an invitation to linger… and return!

Photo credit: Michele Murphy
Photo credit: Michele Murphy

Bar, Lounge and Nightclub award  // Lightning award

Mimi la Nuit
La Firme

With its ancestral stone walls and off-kilter glass wall, Mimi la Nuit evokes the secret, intimate and muffled atmosphere of the speakeasies of the Prohibition era. The bar and restaurant, each with its own entrance, are fused together in one room. This one space/two functions combination is deftly pulled off thanks to a subtle play of cold white and warm white, along with the rich choice of materials: copper, marble, concrete, glass and oak, which all add to the timeless, cosy ambiance. The long bar in the soft-light surroundings is an invitation for people to linger and rub shoulders, both directly and indirectly. No fewer than seven different sources of light were designed to bring life to each of the noble surfaces. Pools of light penetrate the darkness, creating a gauzy atmosphere that adds to the intimate mood. A line of light runs from the secret entrance all the way to the restaurant section. A series of filters and correction filters emit different light intensities, similar to the variations found in a flame. This ingenious use of light—a challenge for a bar and harmoniously designed within the whole space—brings a cinematographic finishing touch to the room.

Photo credit: Randall Brodeur
Photo credit: Randall Brodeur

HOTEL-PUBLIC-AREA-AND-RECREATIONAL-FACILITY

HOTEL AWARD
Hotel Epik
Zabb design

Nestled atop the Hôtel Epik, in one of the oldest buildings in Old Montreal, this 1,750 sq. ft. suite underwent a renovation that sought to preserve the unique 18th-century architecture of this space located in a former warehouse. Many of the original features recalling the building’s industrial past have been preserved, most notably an enormous wooden wheel that graces the lounge area. In the bathroom, a partially burned wall, a vestige of a long-ago fire, adds to the lustre of age that permeates every room. It features a stylish, functional kitchen and a stairway that was remodelled to accentuate the height of the room, which leads to the bedroom and its adjoining patio overlooking the historic neighbourhood. The jury remarked on the sensitivity of the redesign, which lends a comfy, homey feel to the space while preserving its original aesthetic. Large suites are a rarity in Montreal, and this one offers guests the type of stay that lives up to the city’s reputation for all things design while showcasing its duality between past and present. This warm and vibrant space won Zabb design the Hotel award.

Photo credit: Gleb Gomberg
Photo credit: Gleb Gomberg

Hostels, Motels and B&B award
Domaine Forget, résidence étudiante
Bisson associés, architectes

The new Domaine Forget Music and Dance Academy student residence project designed by Bisson|associés architectes is remarkable in that it offers its temporary houseguests a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence River. Thirty rooms with carefully designed acoustics were built and appointed with almost monk-like sensibility to allow young artists to truly enter into communion with the inspiring panorama of the Charlevoix. In this all-white, ascetic environment, the notion of creativity through a blank canvas takes on its full meaning. The simplicity of the decor and the mobility of the furniture offer users myriad possibilities to appropriate the space and set it up according to their personality and the practice of their art. The jury was most receptive to this great spatial versatility. Taking the concept of the connection between inside and outside a step further, an ingenious system of mirrored sliding doors integrate a reflection of the landscape into the decor of the rooms. The common areas on the ground floor open completely to the outside as well as onto a multitude of secondary rooms available to the student community.

Photo credit: Stephane Groleau
Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

Athletic Training Centre award
La Taule
Architecture Microclimat

A brand new elegant and robust building has been built in the municipality of Waterloo. In what looks like a modern barn or small industrial shed is housed a multidisciplinary athletic training centre. Fitness, gymnastics, spinning, weight training—this versatile space lends itself to any number of activities. In this simply shaped building, the architectural elements contribute ingeniously to the functional aspects of the facility. The structure of the mezzanine, for example, supports the horizontal bars; the cleverly designed staircase offers two side-by-side flights of steps, linking both the functions of traffic and training; and the roof structure bears a variety of suspended equipment for gymnastic or circus-related training. Developed by a team of local entrepreneurs, the training centre has injected energy into the area and created a sense of local pride. The building is of restrained, refined beauty and integrates well in its semi-rural environment, while the material palette of mostly wood and metal is the same inside and out, contributing to the success of the overall effect.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

PUBLIC AREA AWARD
Renovation of public areas Pavillon Ignace-Bourget du Collège Bois-de-Boulogne
Héloïse Thibodeau architecte

The refit of the Collège Bois-de-Boulogne’s Ignace-Bourget building sought to reflect the identity of the college and its values. The goal was to revamp the flow of traffic and occupation of space in a way that was both fluid and natural, by creating relationships between the different spaces. The main hall, cafeteria, student association rooms, café and outdoor terrace were all located in proximity to one another, but were all unconnected. An open walkway and massive stairway now link the ground floor to the floor above as well as to two previously isolated areas on this upper floor. The demolition of another stairway made it possible to open up the terrace and the entrance hall. A motorized system of acoustic slats in the ceiling allows the hall to be transformed into a versatile exhibition space. Once opened and related to one another, these spaces were brought to life with vivid colours. The jury liked that original features, such as the wood wall, round lighting fixtures and brick walls, were preserved, and bestowed Héloïse Thibodeau, architecte Inc. with the Public Area award for this renovation project.

Photo credit: Brugger
Photo credit: Brugger

SPA AWARD
Les Jardins du Bota Bota
MU Architecture

In the shadow of the former Old Port grain silos, the secluded Bota Bota Gardens project is an unparalleled haven of relaxation where guests can enjoy a unique thermal spa experience. The gardens feature different pavilions—built using recycled shipping containers—each with a specific function, including a relaxation area, steam bath and mechanical room. Their green roofs have perforated edges that create a wonderful interplay of light and shadow. The pavilions surround a pool composed of three irregularly shaped basins. The relaxation zones, fireplace and yoga platform add to the serene atmosphere of this relaxing refuge. The architects faced a number of technical challenges, including heating the outdoor spa’s floor and pool, which they solved by installing a geothermal heating system that recovers energy from the river and the boat’s waste water. The clean, minimalist lines of the project reflect the surrounding environment, creating an uncommon urban retreat. The jury considered it to be an excellent example of a top-notch tourist destination and awarded Mu architecture with the Spa award for these extraordinary gardens.

Photo credit: Fany Ducharme
Photo credit: Fany Ducharme

Exhibition award
Musée du Monastère des Augustines, exposition permanente
Bisson + Castonguay

To underscore the pure beauty of the historic spaces of the monastery of the Augustinian Sisters of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, and to showcase the museum’s permanent exhibition in its best light, the architects opted to create a series of simple glass display cases running along the walls from room to room. Floating at waist height with no supporting structure beneath, they reveal a singular collection of household and precious artifacts donated by the religious community. Dotted throughout the exhibition is a discreet and tasteful installation of videos by a renowned filmmaker, featuring the Sisters in their daily lives today. These clips thus offer visitors a living contact with the legacy of the Augustinian Sisters, generous women who dedicated their lives to tending to the sick. The reinterpretation of different periods of society and the care taken in preserving the spirit of the monastery moved the jury to name Bisson+Castonguay as the winners of the Exhibition award for this project, whose simple design has so effectively been put to the service of honouring the building’s rich history.

Photo credit: Stephane Groleau
Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

Event design and ephemeral installation Award
Vol-au-vent
ADHOC architectes

As part of the SPOT (Sympathique Place Ouverte à Tous)architecture and design cultural event held in Quebec City, ADHOC architectes teamed up with a group of students from Université de Laval’s school of architecture to create and build an outdoor stage canopy called Vol-au-vent. The Carré Lépine, 715 Saint-Vallier Street East in Quebec City, was the site for the whimsical installation consisting of windmills made of an ultra reflective film strung up on transparent wire, which shimmer under sunlight as well as stage spotlights at night. Despite its minimalist treatment, the installation envelops the entire space, creating a playful, festive atmosphere. This construction feels like an organic object, a sense that’s reinforced by the fluttering sound produced by the windmills spinning in the breeze. On the ground and even on the walls of the surrounding houses, they create a patterned shadow effect reminiscent of a passing flock of birds. With its auditory and visual vibrations, Vol-au-vent creates a fanciful and unique atmosphere in a once-neglected space.

Photo credit: Alexandre Guilbeault
Photo credit: Alexandre Guilbeault

OFFICE

Office Space, 5,000 sq. ft. or less award
Droit diaphane
Jean-Maxime Labrecque, architecte

The cornerstones of this remarkable project are a continuous rapport with light and an original concept that nevertheless remains true to the spirit of the client. The strength of this project lay in being able to transform a dark, conventional law office into a sleek, bright space using simple means and with a limited budget. The design approach was to make two slight modifications to the alignment of existing irregular and slightly curving partitions, onto which a metal skin of perforated steel was then laid. The new surface would create a play of diaphanous light, in addition to providing greater privacy—a request made by the Quebec Bar (Barreau du Québec). Architect Jean-Maxime Labrecque sanded then polished the previously painted concrete floor, to restore its original, industrial appearance. The anodized aluminum workplace furnishings were custom made, the white of the desks contrasting with the imposing black of the conference room, which is dominated by an extraordinary play of light. The effect is a neutrality well suited to the practice of law. The space speaks for itself: the new look is both strong and subtle, and extraordinarily luminous.

Photo credit: F Bouchard
Photo credit: F Bouchard

Office Space, 5,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. award
Camden
Inside Studio

This marketing agency has a new owner, a new name—inspired by London, England’s Camden Town, a district renowned for its alternative scene—and, now, a new look to reflect its revamped identity. The mandate given to Inside Studio was clear: make it raw, binary, original, multifunctional and inviting. Located in the Mile End neighbourhood, the square space was used to its maximum potential. Closed offices were grouped together in a central black block with abundant windows, allowing light to flood into the spaces. This placement creates a natural division in the room and establishes several common areas. In each of the closed offices hangs a poster of an artist who incarnated the Camden spirit, such as Amy Winehouse, Frida Kahlo and Jimmy Hendrix. The industrial-looking kitchen would be the envy of many a professional restaurant chef. Everything is uncluttered and in balance, each function well defined, with every aspect designed to stimulate creativity. This complete transformation resulted in a raw-looking, compact space that perfectly reflects the energy of the agency’s new culture. Its success earned the Office Space, 5,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. award for Inside Studio.

Photo credit: S BRUGGER
Photo credit: S BRUGGER

Office Space, over 20,000 sq. ft. Award • EX-AEQUO
Lightspeed
ACDF architecture

In2014, ACDF Architecture began work on repurposing the former Place Viger hotel and train station. Covering three floors, the space would house the offices of the startup software company Lightspeed. The initial objective was to give new life to this historic 19th-century building by retaining many of the original materials, including steel columns and girders, rough-hewn brick walls, and timber ceiling beams, and to elegantly juxtapose them with modern, sleek design elements. Each of the floors has a specific function and defining signature. A sense of levity is evident as soon as visitors step into the lobby. It features an optical illusion consisting of a series of red raised shapes that extend across the floor and up the wall, which form the company’s logo when viewed from one angle. White laminate privacy booths that resemble mini, high-gloss houses add to the fun, along with an adjacent kitchen and informal meeting space, designed to reference the swimming pool Lightspeed had at its former offices. The jury was struck by the successful marriage of old and new as well as the balance between whimsy and restraint that resulted in an energizing atmosphere and vibrant work environment. ACDF was able to create a space that highlighted the company culture based on a vision for the community and a personalized design.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Office Space, over 20,000 sq. ft. Award • EX-AEQUO
Édifice La Presse
Architecture49 – JBC

The La Presse newsroom had been neglected since 2007. La Presse’s major shift to digital provided the impetus for a reinvention of this space. Spread over three levels, the vast newsroom features different interconnecting areas that can be used for a variety of activities. Each level—a partial storey that seems literally suspended in space—is surrounded by glass walls, creating a deliberate effect of vertigo. Along with the abundant use of glass, the clear finishes of the workstations contribute to the overall light, airy look. The place is a palpable hive of activity, and the historic building’s large windows allow curious onlookers from the street outside to gawk at the journalists and artisans toiling away to produce the news inside. The world of media is undergoing fundamental changes, and the innovative architectural choices made in this renovation project are representative of these recent transformations. The volumes are particularly well balanced, and the movement of various lines that criss-cross the space create a highly interesting pattern of intersections. The Office Space, over 20,000 sq. ft. award was presented to the architectural consortium for the mastery and sophistication of this interior design.

Photo credit: Stephane Brugger
Photo credit: Stephane Brugger

Institutional, Cultural, Public, Health and Research Institution

INSTITUTIONAL AWARD
Académie Sainte-Anne
Taktik design

See above

Cultural Establishment
Bibliothèque Monique-Corriveau
Dan Hanganu + Côté Leahy Cardas architectes

The Saint-Denys-du-Plateau church at 1100 Route de l’Église in Quebec City, which dates back to 1964, recently underwent a rehabilitation that saw it converted into a space that now houses theMonique-Corriveau Library. The unusual building looks like a massive tent inflated by the wind, which blends into the winter scenery. From the front, it appears as a fantastical, legendary creature, its long, organic lines extending like some giant bird in the middle of a snowy plain, and its former bell tower, the animal’s elongated neck, rising skyward. The architecture of this former place of worship invites the elevation of mind and spirit; it has been transformed into a place of culture, community, exchange and dreams. The architects respected the original structure and created new spaces over three floors featuring delicate structural elements of glass and metal. Strategically placed windows and skylights throughout the building let light trickle in during the day and allow it to shine out at night, transforming the building into a beacon, a landmark in the community. The spectacular volume of this former church has been preserved in this wood, glass and metal structure that is both a bold reinterpretation and a masterful marriage of its past and present vocations.

Photo credit: S. Groleau
Photo credit: S. Groleau

Airport, Courthouse, Correctional Facility and Place of Worship award
Palais de justice de Montmagny
CCM2 + Groupe A + Roy-Jacques architectes

Adding an extension to the1865 Montmagny Courthouse heritage building presented a number of challenges. The goal was to respect the original volume and period features while allowing for contemporary architectural expression. The complexity of managing the relationships between the various spaces and the building’s heritage character imposed major constraints on the project. The need to transform the building was nevertheless of prime importance, given the courthouse’s functional ineffectiveness, lack of space and state of disrepair. The concept is a minimalist architectural framework enveloping the heritage building. Inside, the use of light-coloured wood further adds to the space’s natural brightness. A magnificent staircase of dyed black ash wood creates a weighty sculptural contrast with the lightness of the overall design, which never undermines but rather anchors the space. The lighting interrupts the architectural lines, and the play of materials brings everything into balance. The strict and solemn respect for the legacy of law and history is evident in this transformation, which was rewarded with the Airport, Courthouse, Correctional Facility and Place of Worship award.

Photo credit: Stephane Groleau
Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

OFF-CATEGORY-CULTURAL-AND-PUBLIC-AREA-AWARD

Centre Vidéotron
SNC Lavalin, ABCP architecture, GLCRM architects & Populous

On the site of the old hippodrome at 250-B du Boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel in Quebec City, stands the majestic new Videotron Centre. A veritable monument, this multi-functional arena will serve, among other things, as the home ice for a local hockey team, and was designed as a work of art to pay homage to the province’s capital city. Seen from the outside, the white, ovoid-shaped building echoes the surrounding winter landscape, sculpted by light, ice and snowdrifts. Its platforms, concourses and entry hall invite patrons to both move around and mill about.The futuristic curves inside have a certain sci-fi quality to them. Another tribute to Quebec winters, The Great Blue North,an interactive artwork by Montreal artist Jonathan Villeneuve, greets visitors as they enter the arena. This luminous wall of blue lights displays abstract renderings of winter landscapes with more or less intensity depending on how crowded the hall becomes. With its deftly handled architectural treatments of glass, wood and steel, and its plays of light and luminous intensity, this monumental arena combines tradition, modernity, luxury and function in a tribute to the beauty of the Quebec winter.

Photo credit: Stéphane Groleau
Photo credit: Stéphane Groleau

PUBLIC-HEALTH-AND-RESEARCH-INSTITUTION

Health and Research Institution award
Hôpital Shriners pour enfants
Ibghy

Being sick isn’t fun, especially if you’re a child. That fact was all it took for the firm selected to design the new Shriners Hospital for Children to decide to infuse the project with a touch of whimsy. The hospital is organized into eight areas, each featuring colours and attractions of a different region of Canada, from the Pacific to the Atlantic to the Arctic. From forests and beaches to hockey and marine navigation, everything is designed to lighten the atmosphere. A nursing station is transformed into a boat, an orca whale jumps out of a therapy pool and the floor facing a bank of elevators becomes a hockey rink. This playful approach serves a clear purpose. The imagery, vivid colours and sculptural elements all bring warmth to the hospital. The building’s interior is bright and airy, and scored of large windows invite natural light to filter deep into the heart of the structure. The welcoming figure of an inukshuk watches over the surgery floor, while light from skylights floods into the play and relaxation areas, where parents can enjoy a few minutes of quiet respite. Everything about the design is geared, as much as possible, to providing a positive experience for the children and families who have to spend some time at the hospital.

Photo credit: David Dworkind
Photo credit: David Dworkind

Retirement Home and Long-Term Care Facility award
Bath And Shower Room, Jewish Eldercare Centre
FSA Architecture

Elderly patients in care facilities require special care. Taking a shower or a bath is an activity that often generates great stress for the most fragile residents. And if they have degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the task is even more fraught. These considerations were front and centre in the refit of four new adapted bathrooms and eight shower stalls at the Jewish Eldercare Centre (CHSLD Juif de Montréal). The solution found by FSA Architecture ensured that bathing would be a relaxing experience for these residents. The spaces are uncluttered and designed to be ergonomic and functional for both the patients’ well-being and to facilitate the task for care providers. Careful thought was put into the choice of materials, soft colours and role of light to create a soothing atmosphere. The lighting is warm and can be dimmed if needed to reveal a magnificent luminous ceiling evoking a starry sky. In these inviting rooms, the specialized equipment, which can sometime be quite intimidating, is less upsetting, and the overall impression is more of a spa than a hospital.

Photo credit: FSA Architecture
Photo credit: FSA Architecture

Health and Research Institution award
Clinique D diaphane
L McComber

“Sanitized yet warm…”“A good choice of materials, well-equipped rooms with sober yet effective signage…” The jury was effusive in its praise of the Clinique D design project by architectural firm L. McComber.The role of light, an essential ingredient in many dermatological treatments, was the starting point for the project. The ceiling was exposed and room partitions were rethought, with the entire space being treated as a free plan onto which were added the clinic’s various functions. The lines are pure and airy. What had once been a dark and soulless commercial building in Laval has been completely transformed. We have been transported somewhere else. The strong presence of wood and the exposed ceiling are bold design elements. Wood can be found on the ceiling, walls, door frames and the large, central U-shaped reception desk. Enveloped in immaculate white, the space is punctuated with opalescent glass partitions that let natural light filter in.The phototherapy machines stand impressively behind the reception, behind curved frosted glass enclosures. Another positive: the project included sustainable construction details. The furniture, for example, is made in Laval from locally harvested solid ash and is oiled for long-term durability. The existing concrete floor was polished and sealed with a low-VOC-content product. With its quality architecture and profusion of light, the Clinique D Diaphane project is a success in every respect.

Photo credit: Raphael Thibodeau
Photo credit: Raphael Thibodeau

PRODUCT-DESIGN-SMALL-SERIES

Lighting Fixture award
Focal Point Lamp
Designlump

The Focal Point Lamp belongs in that category of objects we fall in love with at first sight because they have personality. Somewhere between retro and futuristic, this geometrically shaped lamp sits on a slender base and brings a decorative source of illumination to any room. It is made out of an angled, solid copper rod, around which swivels a cube-like, porcelain shade that lets you direct light from its LED soft white bulb wherever you want. And here’s the nifty function that makes this lamp so unique: with one twist of the wrist, you can change the direction of the light and create a different mood. A black or mint green, cloth-covered cord discreetly attached to the porcelain cube completes the list of everlasting materials used in this gorgeous, limited-edition lamp. 

Photo credit: Julie Langenegger Lachance
Photo credit: Julie Langenegger Lachance

Objects and Accessories award
Swip
Leading Edge Designs

In a world of increasingly diverse food trends and appetites, the Swip eating tool has been specifically designed with Asian, vegetarian and fusion foods in mind. A both practical and graceful utensil, it is an elegant compromise between a fork, a spoon and chopsticks. Designed to easily pick up small items or delicate morsels, and even scoop up a splash of sauce, this table tool invites the diner to rediscover the art of eating. Made from a food-grade polymer, the gently curved tool has a tactile sensuality about it and is ergonomically designed for easy handling. The curve provides another plus: when placed on the table, the utensil’s tip doesn’t touch the surface. Available in a variety of colours, the Swip can also be printed with a restaurant logo.

Photo credit: Tim Chin
Photo credit: Tim Chin

Kitchen Product award
Moulin à poivre Sofia
Milan

It’s the intriguing look of this piece that first catches the eye. With its faceted surface, like a cut gem, this everyday pepper mill is imbued with the grace and refinement of an object you would reserve for special occasions. While it is crafted from Quebec black walnut and with a made-in-Denmark ceramic grinding mechanism, this object is infused with an Italian soul. Designed by Carlo Trevisani for the Quebec-based team Milan, this kitchen classic redux is achieved with great style. The refined, sleek lines and multifaceted surface inspired by cafe au lait glasses make it a joy to handle. From any angle, this elegant, contemporary gem adds a hint of elegance to any space.

Photo credit: Jean-François Mailhot
Photo credit: Jean-François Mailhot

Residential Furniture award
Le CARRÉ
Atelier B

Every spring, Montrealers come out of hibernation and begin to live outdoors again, celebrating the rebirth of their respective neighbourhoods. Le CARRÉ is a project that integrates both street beautification and urban community living in a simple, modular concept. Made of concrete cubes into which wooden planks can be inserted in two ways, the furniture can be arranged according to a variety of combinations. From a simple bench suspended between two flower containers to a square patch of vegetation surrounded by four blooming concrete cubes, the components are all designed to be weather resistant and easy to store for the winter. This spring, Montrealers will be adding a touch of colour to their neighbourhoods, beautifying and sprucing up public spaces with these modular pieces.

Photo credit: Atelier B
Photo credit: Atelier B

Commercial Furniture award
Académie Sainte-Anne
Taktik Design

See above

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet
Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

INDUSTRIAL-DESIGN

Integrated Furniture award, ex-aequo
Des Architectures pour Arnaud
Jean Verville Architecte

Who better than an eight-year-old consultant to create a play area tailored to children’s actual preferences? That’s what architect Jean Verville said to himself when he set about designing a space for playing, reading and relaxing. So, in close collaboration with Arnaud, he set about creating, in a highly compact space, what looks like an oversized children’s game of foam blocks and white felt panels. The project, a reinterpretation of the living room fort made from sofa cushions, nicely defines the room’s activity area and includes a raised bed and storage nook. The structure was designed to fully stimulate a child’s imagination. The walls with their geometrically shaped openings slide on rails to create changing patterns and adjust the light. One of the jury’s favourites, this project was described as “an exceptional example of integrated furniture imbued with charm and whimsy.”

Photo credit: jean verville
Photo credit: jean verville

Integrated Furniture award, ex-aequo
Lake Jasper House
ARCHITECTURAMA

Unique: that was the word that summed up the jury’s discussions of this project. Nestled on a wooded, hillside property in the Lanaudière region is an unusual cottage, an intriguing cubic structure whose dominant feature is a modular bench system. These modular bleacher-style units, which simultaneously serve as oversized furniture, bookshelves and structural elements, are made of wood and can be reconfigured according to need. The structure can be arranged to form tables, beds, shelves and seating areas. This unconventional and changeable interior topography is completed by movable blocks, which can serve as end tables, back rests or steps.The kitchen, bathroom and mechanical areas are relegated to the back, letting this modular agora—from where the surrounding nature may fully be enjoyed—be the star of the show.

Photo credit: James Brittain Photography
Photo credit: James Brittain Photography

Lighting Fixture award
Watson
Galliot Design Général

One of the most universal archetypes, the circle has long inspired human imagination. With its harmonious shape and distinctive function, the Watson lighting fixture combines aesthetics and practicality in a highly successful industrial product. It is unlike most other decorative fixtures in that its light spectrum is powerful enough to be used in general lighting contexts. Watson features a seamless, delicate light ring on the inside, with a polished metal metallic rim on the outside. It casts no shadow, conceals all its hardware, and, thanks to its ingenious execution, appears to float in the air. A neat finishing touch is its small handle-like projection, in which all the electrical connections are contained. It is a design of consummate simplicity and elegance.

Photo credit: Arancia Lighting
Photo credit: Arancia Lighting

Residential Furniture award
C401
Jason Burhop et Etienne Dugal_Kastella

Real luxury isn’t ostentatious; it is in the details, in every line, in every articulation of a gracefully designed, finely crafted object. And while not glaring, it has a strong formal presence. Kastella’s C401 stool has all these qualities. This refined piece of furniture proclaims all the rich beauty of wood through its clean, sensual lines and seamless assembly. The only hint we have of a junction point between the seat and the legs is the interruption in the pattern of the solid wood grain. Apart from its machined brass footrest, the stool seems to have been sculpted from one single piece of wood in one single operation. Every detail has been carefully thought out by the designers to blend form and function, bringing a touch of luxury to the everyday.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Office Furniture award
TAG & Office 5
alter-e-go solutions, Patrick Ferro, Alain Chevigny BDI

Boring and uncomfortable workspaces are a thing of the past. Alter-E-Go Solutions offers versatile, modular office furniture systems to create clean and appealing working environments for individual or group activities. Designed with the participation of industrial design consultant Alain Chevigny, the completely modular Office 5 line is made of wood, melamine and steel. And it is entirely compatible with the TAG soft seating system, which includes ottomans and linear or adjustable angle seating. Every element can be paired with another, and the height, depth and width can be composed differently to create completely customized arrangements. The jury was won over by the multifunctional, ergonomic and aesthetic design of this contemporary looking furniture.

Photo credit: alter-e-go solutions, Patrick Ferro, Alain Chevigny BDI
Photo credit: alter-e-go solutions, Patrick Ferro, Alain Chevigny BDI

Transportation award
Azur Metro Cab
Romain Zolfo & Karim Guelmi pour Labbé Designers

The Société de transport de Montréal’s new Azur metro trains will soon come into operation. Along with the cars, the driver’s cab—a component of key importance—was also redesigned. In developing their concept, the designers took note of the operators’ concerns. They spent time in the cabs with them, observing their habits, and conducted an in-depth ergonomic study of their activity in order to design an operational environment that would optimize freedom of movement, comfort in a sitting position and access to controls.

The cab’s field of vision was broadened, and the workstation features state-of-the-art technology that allows for comfortable operation. The STM signature colour scheme dominates the design. This is a project with a strong design that reinforces Montreal’s distinctive identity.

Photo credit: GAZ studio
Photo credit: GAZ studio

Kitchen Product award
Flow garlic press
MSC International

Offered in turquoise, pistachio or lilac and gracefully curved like a dolphin’s back, this lovely new garlic press doesn’t require excessive hand power, as it’s designed to be used on a counter top, using the weight of the upper body to do the work. But it can also be picked up in the hand to use over a bowl or the stovetop. Combining these two functionalities in a tool that is as artful to look at as it is easy to use was a considerable challenge. Mission accomplished! This duality is further celebrated by the materials—classic chrome on the bottom and coloured nylon on the top. The true beauty of the Flow garlic press is its simple functionality and effectiveness. Stylish and easy to clean, its ergonomic design ensures a good grip in the hand. This handsome garlic press demonstrates the perfect balance between form and function.

Photo credit: Jean-Philippe Aubé
Photo credit: Jean-Philippe Aubé

Bathroom Product award
Axent shower door
Fleurco

With its high-end Axent collection, Fleurco, a company that specializes in the design of shower doors and bathtubs, is raising the bar on bypass sliding shower doors. The company has developed a product line that introduces many technological innovations without compromising on ease of installation.

Photo credit: M Prudhomme
Photo credit: M Prudhomme

Architectural Product award
Interactive Transparent Screen
ALTO Design / Axis4 Média

Alto Design was given a daunting challenge by the Danish ready-to-wear clothing chain Bestseller. They were asked to participate in the creation of a massive transparent screen for Bestseller’s Quebec stores. The fruit of a partnership with local companies Axis4Media and LSAV Technologies, the screen uses animation to highlight mannequins in the display behind the glass. The design mandate was to develop a discreet structure that could accommodate 14 transparent screens. They designed a system of aluminum profiles, which could act as a multifunctional frame around the windows. To make the images visible, LED strips facing the inside of the display were concealed in the frame. The jury called it a perfect example of an architectural integration project. Aesthetically pleasing and with no visible support structure, it can nevertheless withstand the pressure of clients leaning up against it.

Photo credit: Patrick Mainville
Photo credit: Patrick Mainville

Urban Furniture award
Banc-nana
DIX au carré

On the bustling, popular square just in front of the Mont-Royal metro station, you’ll find the Banc-nana, a seating installation in the form of two giant bananas and one banana peel. More than just a theatrical installation, this zany yet functional sculpture not only provides people with a place to relax but gets them talking, too.

These banana benches arouse immediate enthusiasm in bystanders, residents and tourists of all ages and likes. This Pop Art-inspired installation presented a number of technical challenges. Though an easy-to-build structure made of epoxy-painted Baltic birch plywood, which could be arranged to create the shape of the fruit, it had to both be weather resistant and conform to the requirements of a public space.

Photo credit: DIX au carré
Photo credit: DIX au carré

SUSTAINTABLE DEVELOPMENT

Office Space award
STGM’s Head Office
STGM ARCHITECTES + IDEA

Situated adjacent to the Estimauville eco-neighbourhood, STGM’s new head office puts the focus on eco-friendly, architectural innovation.The building succeeds in offering an exceptional level of comfort to its occupants. The designers (STGM architectes and the interior design studio IDEA)used ingenious strategies to reach LEED-NC Platinum level, the highest in the internationally recognized LEED green building certification system On one hand, the characteristics of the site itself dictated the approach to the structural concept. The limited bearing capacity of the ground was limited, so a lightweight ductile wood frame with a low ecological footprint proved to be the best solution.

Photo credit: Stephane Groleau
Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

Universal Accessibility award
Centre communautaire Lebourgneuf
CM2 architectes

The architects wanted to avoid the ‘bunker’ look we see all too often in gyms. So they opted to organize the space around a central circulation area, open on two levels. The plan would allow abundant natural light to penetrate inside. In addition, this project stands out for its contribution to universal accessibility. For people with impaired vision, navigating through the building is aided through the use of solid, bright colours to delineate each area, along with oversized, vibrant signage that announces each locale. This graphic treatment was present in the original design idea. The jury was pleased to note the attention given to providing a space that would be inclusive of all the centre’s clientele and felt that this project went a step further in reinforcing the principle of accessibility. One detail of note is that the accessibility is not only physical but also tactile in nature. While this centre was designed to accommodate people with physical impairments, its qualities benefit everyone.

Photo credit: Stephane Groleau
Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

OFF CATEGORY
Val-Jalbert Belvedere
Atelier Pierre Thibault

The revitalization of the historic village of Val-Jalbert aims to enhance the architectural integration of the past and the present. This is why the hydroelectric plant, the focal point of the place, was developed as a touristic trail sheltered by a perforated wooden lath envelope. The wooden lath system not only allows the integration of the trail around the plant but also filters the natural light in order to avoid overheating during summer.The magical quality of the play of shadows created by the slatted wooden structure adds to the unique sensory experience of the site. The trail offers year-round scenic views of the landscape and the impressive Ouiatchouan River, created by a succession of suspended lookout points resembling perches. Just as nature has grown through the ruins of the pulp company, the lattice facade will allow the surrounding vegetation to climb and eventually conceal this great belvedere on the site. The jury was enamoured with the mysterious atmosphere created on this post-industrial site. They called it, simply, beautiful, poetic, enchanting and possessing its own unique aesthetic. The Val-Jalbert Belvedere project is a fine example of contemporary design enhancing the beauty of the last century.

Photo credit: Alain Laforest
Photo credit: Alain Laforest

VALORIZATION OF WOOD

Showcasing Wood in an Interior Design award
Vitrine étudiante_École Polytechnique de MontréalMENKES SHOONER DAGENAIS
LETOURNEUX Architectes

The aim of the renovation of the École Polytechnique de Montréal’s Vitrine étudiante, or student zone, was to create a warm, convivial and distinctive space, and wood, naturally, emerged as a material by which to achieve this. It took form as an immense, wood structure, whose undulating shapes evoked a billowing sail and underscored the notion of movement in this high-traffic location. The side-by-side wood panels create a pattern of waves that seem to ripple in the wind. The effect is enhanced by the lighting defining shapes on the surfaces. Building this artful configuration was a technical feat. The 641 irregularly shaped boards, whose acoustical properties also contribute to attenuating the ambient noise, are attached to a removable system. They run down the walls to the floor, where they become seating. Thus used as both furniture and a ceiling treatment, wood brings a coherence and identity to the Vitrine étudiante, its warmth providing a striking contrast with the exposed concrete in the adjacent area. The jury remarked on the ingenious use of wood to create a flowing, organic shape. It also noted the structural rhythm that went beyond a simple technical use of wood, itself becoming a shape within the space.

Photo credit: Stephane Groleau
Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

Best Use of Wood award
EXOCET
DESIGNARIUM

Dusting off his garden furniture that had been stored over winter, the idea for a long chair that was at once beautiful, practical and comfortable came to Stéphane Leathead. A few sketches later, and the Exocet was born. Not bad for a graphic artist who had never designed a piece of furniture in his life! Finding his inspiration in nature—more specifically from the Exocoetidae family of flying fish that inspired the chair’s name—Stéphane wanted to create an aesthetically pleasing chair, which would mould to the lines of a human body and provide multiple functions of sitting and lying. Ingeniously simple, it is made from 21 parallel slats of Baltic birch plywood that rotate around an anodized aluminum cylinder. It allows one or two people to recline or sit, according to the mood. Each chair is hand made in Quebec, as one of a limited edition, and is available in various veneers, including white oak, cherry, walnut, maple and Mozambique. The design is patent pending, but this sculptural piece of furniture has already attracted the attention of art galleries and high-end furniture distributors. After winning awards in Canada, Italy and Korea, the Exocet also received raves from our jury, who remarked on its elegant geometry, original shape, versatility, imaginative design and exquisite use of materials.

Photo credit: LEATHEAD
Photo credit: LEATHEAD

SPECIAL AWARD

Display Window award
Boutique Denault
Hatem+D

The Display Window award was conferred on Hatem+D for the complete redesign of the Denault boutique’s window, facade and entrance. Drawing its inspiration from the brand’s DNO logo, the design of the space is contemporary, clean and open. The window’s surfaces are identical to those used in the boutique, making it seem as though the display flows right into the store. A mirror inserted through the letter O (actually the letter D reflected in the mirror to form an O) creates an illusion that enhances the sensation of continuity between the window and the store.

Photo credit: Guillaume Bouchard
Photo credit: Guillaume Bouchard 

COLOUR AWARD
Annie-Pelletier Pool
Thibodeau Poirier Fontaine architectes

Ambient light plays a central role in the Annie-Pelletier pool. The project evokes a prism breaking light up into its multi-coloured spectral colours. Coloured panels define the different areas through the use of distinctive colour palettes: blue for the main pool, yellow for the children’s recreational pool and green for the locker room area. And although they are located at different ends of the building, each luminous pool can be seen from the other through the many windowed openings separating them. White has been used generously in the project and paired with the space’s neutral finishes, serves as a canvas on which the elements of colour are expressed. But water is the essence of the project. It reflects and flickers, transforming the space according to the daily or seasonal changes in light.

Photo credit: Brugger
Photo credit: Brugger

SURFACE AWARD
Pâtisserie Petit Lapin
Architecture Open Form

For the Pâtisserie Petit Lapin interior design project, Architecture Open Form chose to express the essence of the shop’s identity through the structural elements. The spatial organization is defined by a system of flexible partitions—softwalls—that evoke the folds of parchment paper cupcake cups. As light falls on the translucid white polyethylene modules, it sculpts and delineates the folds, creating a continuous rhythm on the surface. It was the idea of using parchment paper as the creative inspiration to link the product with the environment that found the jury’s sweet spot. The play of folds and white quartz counters in the basement create a consistent and harmonious looking space, accented here and there with delicate touches of pastel, a colour range that we intuitively associate with these sweet treats.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams
Photo credit: Adrien Williams

SMALL BUDGET AWARD
Bois, blanc, noir
Jean-Maxime Labrecque, architecte

If the words “refined”,”efficient” and “ingenious” were used to describe the approach desired for the Bois, blanc, noir (wood, white, black) project, the word “budget” was also part of the client’s vocabulary. Taking into account the limited financial resources available, the architects developed and found the ideas and economical materials that would go into this 2,000 sq. ft. boutique in three stages. First, wood: the walls of this rectangular space are covered in smooth plywood, a material that lends visual purity and can easily accommodate display units and changing rooms. Next, white: the ceiling and everything hanging down from it are painted white to bring lightness to the space. And finally, black: the floor and painted plywood furniture that sits on it received an opaque black treatment. Walls, ceiling and floor are all distinctive, yet harmonize beautifully together to create a coherent layout and balanced, pure look.

Photo credit: F Bouchard
Photo credit: F Bouchard

Multidisciplinary award
Administrative Corridor, Pavillon Bélanger, R-libre
cégep Marie-Victorin

This project by Cégep Marie-Victorin was completed entirely in-house, the fruit of a team effort. As the designers were already employees of the college, they were able to draw on their sense of belonging inthis project to revamp the administrative corridor. The design team assembled together a group of graphic and interior designers and also called on the participation of various support staff, students and teachers. The design dovetailed with the values of the establishment (which are cited on the wall) and therefore involved a number of different trades, requiring a sharing of knowledge by the parties concerned and giving concrete voice to the philosophy of the institution. This multidisciplinary aspect greatly enhanced the project, adding a true third dimension to the graphic representation of the college’s distinctive features. The result: clear messaging and improved signage, along with a sense of pride and belonging resulting from this collaborative effort.

Photo credit: Emilie Summermatter
Photo credit: Emilie Summermatter
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