Story by Michèle Beauchamp-Roy
Photos by Alain Laforest
Additional Material by Alexis Caron-Côté

I admit being a little excited when asked to cover one of Atelier Pierre Thibault’s project,  who – should I mention –  is one of Quebec greatest architect, mostly known for his residential projects in perfect symbiosis with nature. I had the privilege to visit a completely different program: Infopresse‘s office, in the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal. I’ve met Arnaud Granata, vice-president and editor-in-chief at Infopresse, for a quick tour behind the scenes of Montreal’s reference for marketing, media and advertising professionals and Alexis Caron-Côté, copywriter at Bleublancrouge.

La Fonderie par l'architecte Pierre Thibault

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It’s been almost three years since IP teamed up with Atelier Pierre Thibault to fit what was a two story office into a single-floor department. If you didn’t know, an amazing space for rental is now available for special events, right under the media office – the Espace 4310.

We merged the spaces so we could all work together. – A.Granata

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La Fonderie par l'architecte Pierre Thibault

The office is pretty minimalist but is designed to be very functional. Every department has its own work island and catches the daily natural light on the Main. Most of the environment is created in a low-cost and industrial mindset: piping for handles, sonotube for trash and steel sheets for racking. Even if that may sounds raw, the use of sophisticated furnitures balances everything with water dispensers, modern pendants lights and cozy chairs.

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Three distinctive blocks divide the main area. Each cube made out of different materials and used as workspace. The greatest part of these masses is the fact that they aren’t entirely closed – actually opened on every sides – this adds some privacy to these offices without totally sealing them. Those three cubes also form a path through Infopresse’s office, absorbing part of the sound – which can be a problem in an open environment.

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Openings in the small cabins create a really nice perspective, guiding people’s look for a specific experience. This one of PT’s trademark, probably the one I like the most.

An interesting thing about working with Pierre Thibault is how he uses light and volumes instead of colours and overcharge. – A. Granata

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With neutral choices of colors and materials and minimalist work equipments – notice that there’s no desk lamp or pins on the walls –  the atmosphere is created by the way people occupies the whole work area.

For example, with details as simple as tables spontaneously dispatched around, with no particular function. These tables can be used for quick meetings, lunches or teamwork. And with a few magazines around (of course…) people can sit and look at Infopresse’s latest work while waiting for their appointments. That’s exactly what make an environment lively.

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Located behind the Espace Infopresse, downstairs from the office, the kitchen deserves mention. Props to Infopresse’s team for the handmade concrete countertop and for making an Ikea’s kitchen look awesome.

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In the end, I’d say what I’ve appreciated the most of my visit is how the existing environment was respected. During the demolition, the architects found architectural gems (I think of brick walls, ink stains, walls’ mark on the floor and many more great details). I truly admire the way they embraced their discoveries instead of sticking to their first idea.

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Creative offices’ intrusion is always fascinating.  A special thanks to Arnaud Granata for making this tour possible and Alain Laforest who generously shared with us part of his architectural photography work.

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Michèle Beauchamp-Roy
Montreal Correspondent
Michèle is a young designer with a prominent fashion background. That challenges the way she does things design-wise but mostly the way she looks at it. For her, the design has to be well-thought and useful to be beautiful. The thing that fascinates her the most is how natural light, a single piece of artwork or a subtle texture on a wall can define a space. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes less is also not enough.