The rays of the sun struck the surface of the waves at rather an oblique angle, and at the touch of their light, decomposed by refraction as through a prism […]
Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea 
One recognizes with the recent Némeau project the unique signature of Jean de Lessard, creative designers who was inspired for his space exploration of the place by the adventure novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Like his client, the interior designer Jean de Lessard takes a fresh look at the traditional fish market through his own atypical lens: "I approached this project from the ‘vintage’ viewpoint of Jules Verne, but through a time line between today and tomorrow. It's subtle, a little crazy, but fun!"
The brand image of the store is in fact based on this pioneering spirit. Located in Lévis, on the south shore of Québec City, the fish market offers customers to discover the fish products differently, by providing them with a unique ‘promenade-shopping’.
The concept of adding value to products through exploration is the main theme of a rather unusual design which aims to be a journey of the senses around displays brimming with fresh products. "It facilitates interactions between staff and customers and adds a distinctive touch to the collective experience; shopping becomes enjoyable even in such a small space", notes Jean de Lessard.
Shades of emerald and sapphire 
Ice floes-displays are randomly articulated around circulation axes, inviting gazes and a gourmand inspection of their content. These stylized cooling systems topped with asymmetric glass cases were custom designed in the way of jewelry boxes. They are made in Corian®, a resistant composite material low in VOC emissions in accordance with the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) standards. They required months of hard work, bringing together a team of specialists of Corian®, lobster tank, refrigeration, IT management and talented glassmakers.
Back to a recurring idea in the novel: the promenade. The sculptural glass ceiling, with a prismatic shape and tones is illustrating its underwater magic, becoming a form representation of the refraction of natural light on the water and denser water as Nemo and his accomplices may have seen. The key aspect of this element is the extraordinary bookcase aboard the Nautilus that Jean de Lessard has conceptualized and successfully integrated in his design. In one fluid motion, the striking honeycomb ceiling becomes a sweeping tsunami of shelves. This is a simple, practical and ingenious way to maximize the store area surface.
Moreover, the nautical theme is also brought into play. "The white and gray ceramic tiling is reminiscent of the slats of hardwood of a boat’s deck," concludes the designer.
In this dynamic and minimalist space, the combination of horizontal and vertical lines and transparency brings to mind the emptiness and fullness within the depths of the sea. Thus, the oblong-shape ethereal lighting, like some abstract vegetation suspended in space, are balancing the denser shapes on the floor.
Photo credit @Francois Laliberté, Imagicom.
Strategy: Carole Vézina
Marketing: Tonik stratégie
Creative direction: Lebeau&Lebon
Design: Jean de Lessard, designers créatifs
Contractor: Les Entreprises FBL
Corian®: Summum Granit
Refrigeration manufacturer : Dauphinais inc.
Computer system: RH Solutions Informatiques
Lobster tank: Vivier des Îles
Glass and bookcase: Verrerie Coquelicot
ceramic tile, metal, Corian® and glass
Store surface: 430 square feet
Kitchen surface: 840 square feet
About Jean de Lessard, designers créatifs
With more than 25 years of experience, Montreal designer Jean de Lessard has designed numerous interiors, particularly in the commercial and deluxe residential sectors. His firm’s eclectic skills have led them to work on spaces of a diversity of vocations including hotels, restaurants, offices, drugstores and boutiques.
Jean de Lessard, designers créatifs is one of the world’s pioneers of the creative development of individuals and societies in office development. Having amalgamated in its design practice many professional resources and findings of numerous socio-economic studies, the firm creates the custom-made approach “Duality of the individual and the community”, an innovative approach that focuses on the diversity of space occupation patterns.
In the past months, the firm is a laureate of the Montreal’s Grands Prix de design, the Iconic Awards in Munich and the Interior Design’s Best of Year Awards in NYC. Winning prestigious prizes from the Association of Retail Environment in Chicago, the projects have also won the firm awards from the International Property Awards in London.
 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Chapter XV - A walk on the bottom of the sea, Jules Vernes. English translation as per the Gutenberg Ebook project, 2008, www.gutenberg.org.
 “The magical colours disappeared by degrees, and the shades of emerald and sapphire were effaced.” Ibid.