30 Aug 2023
In an effort to support the APCHQ (Association des professionnels de la construction et de l’habitation du Québec) in a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn, Imperatori Design committed to redeveloping the four floors occupied by the construction industry-related organization. The owner of the building, the association founded in 1961, had not made any changes to its work environment for the past thirty years. It was dark and conservative, reflecting the hierarchical and compartmentalized approach of the time.
The expertise of interior design professionals was therefore not only desired, but necessary to create a new place that would combine the contemporary vision of the work environment with the current values of the APCHQ. On the client’s side, the creation of a project committee, comprised of ambassadors for the transition, greatly contributed to its success by facilitating the sharing of information. From the fluidity of the conversations came insightful and creative guidance, which inspired Imperatori Design.
From the moment visitors enter, there is a welcoming feel to the spacious, yet intimate space. From the reception area, glass partitions provide a visual link to the multipurpose rooms. The versatility of the architectural components of this area offers a variety of configurations, adapting to the changing needs of the occupants. Pivot doors delineating the space from the adjacent café area reveal an oasis for users where they can relax and recharge.
The upper floors are reserved for workspaces. The new layouts focus on collaboration and access to natural light for all. With this in mind, the window access provides a clear perspective of the surrounding neighbourhood. The majority of the closed spaces are grouped around a curved central core, while the workstations are distributed in the open area, punctuated by informal meeting zones. The presence of rooms supporting collaboration provides acoustic comfort. On the top floor, the majestic skylight, once reserved for management, is now located over a common coffee area enjoyed by all.
The materiality of the new environment is expressed in a mineral palette of white, grey, and earth tones. From its generous use in Quebec, White Oak emanates a soft sense of comfort associated with the warmth of a home. Emerald scrolls of hot-rolled steel bring texture and depth to this local material that embodies strength and stability. The occasional addition of felt, in the form of wall panels or openwork, contributes to the visual comfort and acoustics of the space. In addition to defining the work areas, the suspended acoustic ceiling tiles invite calm and concentration, while the exposed structure of the circulation areas evokes the raw side of the construction. Revealing the infrastructure with soft indirect lighting, along with a selection of eco-responsible materials, is reminiscent of the attention paid to air quality and user comfort, aimed at obtaining a LEED gold certification.
The addition of playful graphics encourages the use of the exit stairs as a means of connectivity between the floors. Other visual graphics, as well as wayfinding, are inspired by the construction dictionary. As for the APCHQ logo, cut from hot-rolled steel panels, it provides the final touch to this new environment in the image of the APCHQ of today, and tomorrow.