As the winners of the 2014 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.
Andre Davingnon, APDIQ® – President and Artistic Director, talked with us about creating a place to not just work – but live, minimal design, and Mary Poppins’ favorite word!
Describe this project in one word.
How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
The Ludia project proposes a new vision of profitability based on the latest corporate ideologies. Offering smaller work stations, all close together, to facilitate team interaction. Then using the saved square footage to conceive gathering spaces to create the sense of belonging to its employees. By this new approach in design, the Ludia spaces went from simple offices to a place to live. As well as a better organisation and the increase of effectiveness, the biggest success of this design was to assemble all the right conditions to allow the implementation of the game culture and socialization in the workplace: From the serious production meeting… to the next hockey game!
Design is a process. Explain your journey.
The mandate was to develop a workshop for 84 artists, collaborative spaces, a multipurpose lounge, IT lab, a server room, a cloakroom for 100 people and washrooms, in a new 9600 square feet space, with a construction budget of 400,000$. An increased challenge appeared after demolition started forcing a reevaluation of the structural condition of the historic building. With this major necessary architectural work, the initial budget was amputated and a new strategy in design was required.
To obtain optimum results and impact, while taking into account budgetary constraints, the development of the design was based on three considerations:
- Can we design, construct and manufacture with different means?
- Can we achieve the same result by using less expensive materials?
- Can we save money while creating custom product?
One strategy used was to create a minimal design with the use of one or more vibrant color for a dramatic effect at a low cost. Following this principle, the new staircase and handrail were build according to industrial standard. The highly saturated orange color, used for this new area of vertical circulation, produces a grandiose effect. The lounge was fully painted black with the intention of harmonizing all of the existing architectural details from different historical periods.
This use of black paint acted as a canvas and enhanced all the colors and textures of the various furniture pieces and fun design elements. The monetary savings from the installation of commercial products such as vinyl tiles and baseboards, commercial type paint, standard doors and frames helped to put more emphasis on the lounge’s key items. More expensive products such as recycled wood, grass carpet, floral pattern carpet, mosaic backsplash, a mural by Montreal artists, printed mural and glass partitions were used in smaller quantities, creating a more dramatic effect while still maintaining a sense of unity.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
- Using the physical and budgetary constraints as an incentive to create
- Listening and a good analysis of the client’s need are a great formula for a tailored design
- Dare to mix styles and approaches to create a unique design
- Make it a priority to safeguard the architectural Heritage of a space and develop a new concept in keeping with the history of the place.
- Crazy ideas exchanged while brainstorming (those we barely mention) sometimes make the best design
- Color is your best ally – use it!