Erected in the late 1980s by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), 1250 René-Lévesque West is a well-known commercial building in Montreal. The huge curved façade, undisputable testimony of the postmodernist architecture, faces east and offers a stunning view of the city’s urban landscape.
The diversified global investment services company, Pavilion Financial Corporation, with offices throughout North America, has the privilege of having an office on the 40th floor of this iconic building in Montreal, enjoying a breathtaking panoramic view. Lemay won the mandate for the significant renovation of the reception area and conference rooms, and LumiGroup supported the design team in lighting the space.
The mandate: a timeless universal style to cater to an international clientele who regularly visit the offices of Pavilion. Lemay designed a clever effect of contrasts between light and darkness, openness and privacy, brightness and simplicity. The minimalist lighting of this project through various applications successfully strengthened, with astonishing visual discretion, these architectural concepts.
From glossy to matte, opaque to transparent, light to dark, the monochrome surfaces are juxtaposed and overlapped in the space. Different shades of gray and nuances of light, asymmetrically assembled, accurately define the three main areas of the development’s layout.
From the entrance, the corridor is characterized by its wavy and angular wall, made of glossy anthracite, which mimics the circulation by its contrast of light and shade. The first undulations conceal wide doors giving access to two coat closets and a storage space. Each wave-fold of the wall reveals large acrylic backlit panels, serving as the primary light source in the hallway, creating a softened atmosphere. The ceiling is stripped of all fixtures, giving way to a dark gray continuous tape which seems to end its continuum under the light gray ribbon of the adjacent area, which overlaps obliquely. At the other end, the gap created between the two ceilings hints at a gleaming surface, increasing the cut between the two areas.
Angular and bright
The reception area and the four subsequent conference rooms are immersed in an atmosphere suddenly brighter and more radiant. The light gray tones and straight lines remind us of the professionalism, expertise and rigor of the company. A large stainless steel mesh, glass-framed sign seems to float in the setting: a contrasting image between strength and lightness. The recessed ceiling light strips, frame the different volumes in the space, polish the vertical surfaces with finesse and elegance, while allowing the general space to be lit up vibrantly. This architectural line of light repeats itself inside the rooms more dynamically to create an asymmetric set, evoking the lines of the interior design. This set of intersecting lines is also noticeable in the furniture in the waiting room. Its electric blue and bright orange do not go unnoticed and vibrantly punctuate the monochrome environment, like a sculpture positioned within the space, low to the ground, so as not to obstruct the view.
Openness and transparency
These great assets, known to be the spectacular view and the curved curtain wall deserve their acclaimed glory and needed to be further showcased. Thus, each separator wall of each of the conference rooms begins with an opaque surface, for privacy needs, but ends, just before reaching the large curved façade, as a complete glass wall. This succession of transparent panels creates a visual break between the different rooms but also serves as a visual clearance from one end of the space to the other in order to admire the panorama as a whole, regardless of where you are. A simple LED directional lighting recessed in a thin white ribbon punctuates every window at regular intervals, delicately framing the natural masterpiece of the space: Montreal’s panorama.
Founded in 1957 as an architectural firm, Lemay is one of Canada’s leading integrated environmental design firms, combining architecture, urban design, interior design, landscape architecture, structural engineering and branding into a multidisciplinary and synergetic offer. In order to better service its clients, Lemay expanded its talent pool in 2014 by integrating three entities from Toronto’s IBI Group: DAA, Cardinal Hardy Architectes and Martin Marcotte/Architectes.
Now well established in Canada, United States, China, Algeria, Costa Rica, in the Caribbean and the Middle-East, Lemay brings together nearly 350 professionals who offer their creativity to support their clients’ business strategies. Recognized by Deloitte as one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies, Lemay has been the driving force behind several landmark projects that have garnered attention here and abroad, most notably the New City of El-Menia in Algeria, the STM Stinson transport centre, the Place d'Armes, the Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, the Astral Head Office and the Centre Bell (in consortium).
LumiGroup, founded in 1995, is Quebec's largest lighting agency. It represents a vast number of lighting manufacturers from Quebec and around the world, exhibited in a 10,000 square foot showroom in the heart of Montreal's Mile End artistic district.
LumiGroup creates, in collaboration with industry specialists, the right lighting solution, including fixtures and controls. Its mission is to creatively transform space in terms of functionality and ergonomics, to stimulate and motivate the end user.
Location : 1250 Rene-Levesque West Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec
Client : Pavilion Financial Corporation
Completion : 2015
Architects/Designers : Lemay
Main designer and project manager : Chantal Ladrie
Designer and site manager : Annick Verreault
Lighting : LumiGroup
Lighting Manufacturers : Traxon Technologies, Flos Architectural, Modular Lighting, Dasal Lighting
Photo credits : Claude-Simon Langlois