Commercial Qualities of Montréal
For example, Avanti le SPA by Lanvain Design is a monochromatic, curving promenade, with a sequence of stations for body treatments along an interior "walkway." Salon alterna-tif by haiRArchi.design combines a hairdressing salon and an art gallery. Customers can have their hair done in the mahogany-furnished central core or stroll around it to view the works of art.
One of the larger retail establishments honored by the competition jury is Adonis, a Middle Eastern supermarket designed by Les Architectes Boutros + Pratte. It imitates a covered marketplace of small shops and presents an urban face in a residential neighborhood by facing the street and concealing the parking.
Another large store is outdoor specialist Mountain Equipment Co-op, designed by Studio MMA, Atelier d'Architecture, Duschenes & Fish/DFS Architectes, and architect Lise M. Tremblay. Rough finishes of recycled wood and textured concrete emphasize the store's "green" design. At the center are two large vertical openings under a long skylight and flanked by a broad staircase and a climbing wall.
Smaller stores add a sense of intimacy to other design qualities. At Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois by Luc Laporte Architecte, a display window and counter carefully filter the view so customers get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. Partially frosted windows protect the wares from the sun, while the geometric motif echoes the shapes of the chocolates themselves.
The jewelry shop Moug, designed by Alex Farhoud also exploits spatial geometry in a constrained space to enhance the connection between a jewelry designer's workshop and his clientele's display area.
Nearly half the projects selected for the 2004 awards are cafes and restaurants, where atmosphere competes with food quality as a reason for diners to return. For instance, the Aikawa, by Lafontaine, Langford Architectes, features a sushi bar articulated by contrasting light and dark, where patrons can watch the cooks at work or retreat to the more private tables.
The Cluny Artbar by Jérémia Gendron is an ell-shaped cafe within an art center housed in a former foundry. The rough concrete and uneven brick of the existing envelope contrast with smooth dividers displaying works of art. The furniture was made from recycled materials and a variety of found objects.
The Java "U" cafe by CDID Design is a sequence of spaces on different levels. A large room features a corner counter and upward-tilted mirrors. Circulation is punctuated by short stair runs and draperies concealing mystery niches. More upscale is the Ristorante Brontë by Optima Design. Massive, orange-glass-covered pillars and stainless-steel-framed windows create a rhythm of light and reflections for this gourmet restaurant.
The Commerce Design Montréal contest is an initiative of the City of Montréal, carried out in partnership with the Québec government. Produced by the Société de Développement de Montréal, the contest is supported by the Association Professionnelle des Designers d'Intérieur du Québec, the Fonds d'Études et de Recherches en Design Intérieur de l'Est, the Ordre des Architectes du Québec, and the Regroupement des Centres-Villes et des Artères Commerciales.
Since 1995, the competition has been rewarding Montréal businesspeople for investing in the design quality of their business premises. This year's jury was headed by consultant Louise Roy.
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