Lafond Desjardins Dental Laboratory
The Lafond Desjardins dental laboratory in Laval, is a new facility designed by ACDF Architecture that demonstrates how industrial buildings offer great opportunities to create sensitive and refined architecture.
ACDF proposed a relatively minimalist architectural concept inspired by the different manufacturing methods used by the dental laboratory. ACDF designed the project from a series of volumetric extractions applied to an opaque volume covered with dark and textured bricks.
Intended to provide the perfect dose of fenestration for the various programmatic functions of the laboratory as well as outdoor terraces for the employees, the volumetric extractions generated a powerful visual contrast between the textured black brick envelope and the smoother and whitish aspect of the glass sections.
“We are not afraid to work in fields that are not trendy or generally considered amenable to refined projects. Quite the contrary, in fact,” said ACDF co-founder Maxime-Alexis Frappier. “Everyone deserves a day-to-day life elevated by design. We believe architects must absolutely be more involved in the industrial sector by creating projects that make a positive contribution to the urban landscape. They should also benefit the workers by providing more attractive, engaging and productive workspaces. Architecture can help alleviate the current labour shortage, and that’s what we committed to from the start of the Lafond Desjardins project.”
The Lafond Desjardins dental laboratory has a prominent location on Industriel Blvd., a major artery in Laval’s main industrial district. At night, the white screen-printed glass glows thanks to a backlight effect created by lights inside, and by day sunlight shining on the windows creates an overexposure effect. Highly textured, antique-finish black bricks cover the rest of the building to give it a contemporary look full of contrasts – an ACDF signature.
All volumetric subtractions have their specific purpose, whether to meet different programmatic requirements or to provide optimal natural lighting based on carefully studied solar trajectories.
A double-height foyer, terraces upstairs accessed from common spaces and administrative offices, floor-to-ceiling windows strategically positioned based on the architectural program: the contrasting shapes and tones resulting from this volumetric work attract the gaze of passers-by without being overbearing.
Although mainly used by employees, the new building also occasionally welcomes patients who come to verify the colour of their future crowns. As a showcase for the company, the foyer is a very important space that requires ample light.
The sense of vastness created by its double height, the abundance of natural light from the upstairs garden – filtered through metal-chain screens – and the pure white walls and polished-concrete floor contrast sharply with the exterior. A minimalist space overall, the double-height foyer includes a reception desk, a waiting area for visitors and a naturally lit kiosk for patients who have come for colour tests for their crowns and dental prostheses. The curved pale wood furniture of the reception area facilitates fluid traffic.
A staircase backing onto the outer wall of the fabrication workshop leads upstairs to the employee lounge and kitchen, which lead to two terraces. The common area is equipped with white countertops and kitchen cabinets as well as a large island providing an additional work surface and lunch counter.
Across from the island, ACDF created a dining room with tables and chairs in pale wood resembling the panelling in the alcove, which features a built-in black banquette. In keeping with the space’s industrial character, the ventilation ducts, mechanical equipment and roof structure are all exposed and painted white. The large space is also suitable for hosting occasional events during which clients can meet the team and receive training in new fabrication techniques.
The workshop is located on the ground floor and includes numerous elements specific to the different techniques used in making the dental products developed by Lafond Desjardins. Each work area was carefully positioned to provide a functional, acoustically appropriate environment for the noise made during ceramic fabrication and polishing and to prevent dust from reaching common areas. In order to provide natural light for the workers, most zones feature exterior-facing windows. The rooms are designed for the staff’s well-being and are equipped with functional workstations that foster productivity.
The new building, black on the outside and brilliant white inside, is the result of an approach sensitive to its industrial setting, which now features a sophisticated dental laboratory and productive workspace. The concept juxtaposes raw, dark qualities with refined and brilliant ones, symbolizing the present and future transformation of industrial districts.
Localisation: Laval, Québec (Canada)
Year of completion: 2022
Client: Laboratoire dentaire Lafond Desjardins
Architecture: ACDF Architecture
Christelle Montreuil Jean-Pois
Duranleau Gac– Project manager
Construction Matem – Contractor
MHA Experts-conseils – Civil engineers
SDK – structural engineers
AlbCad Design inc. – M&E engineers
Photos: Adrien Williams