19 Oct 2021
ISSADESIGN and A+ present the new research and development centre of Behavox, a data analysis company based on artificial intelligence. Mandated by A+, an integrated project management firm offering a turnkey service, we had the mission to design the client's new work environment.
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Throughout the design process, it was a collaborative effort with the A+ team and the various partners and specialized contractors. Designed and built during a pandemic, the project proved to be a major challenge for the entire design team.
Seduced by the breathtaking view of the city of Montreal and its icons from the upper floors of the Manulife House, Behavox's founder knew from the start that his Montreal offices had to be located there. In this regard, the challenge for the design agency was to design many closed spaces, to allow meetings and moments of concentration, but without obstructing the views, but rather by enhancing them, accompanying them.
The project aims to provide its occupants and visitors with a vibrant, community-oriented space that is at the same time imbued with an elegant simplicity.
With a mandate to design an environment with as few walls as possible, while integrating sports areas, a cafeteria, employee locker and brainstorming areas as well as meeting rooms for an occupancy of up to 283 employees, ISSADESIGN had to be creative in order to put in place an environment that would be consistent with the client's needs. The idea was to anchor the development in a perspective of sustainability, both in the use of the infrastructures and in the redefinition of the needs of the workers. To achieve this, the meeting rooms revolve around the central core of the building, allowing natural light to flood the work areas and other informal collaborative spaces.
Soundproofed glass cubicles surround the windows of the floors to provide employees with private work spaces close to their personal work space. The connection between employees is favoured by the installation of a floor opening facilitating access from one floor to the other and offering an even more striking view of the city from the arrival of clients on the 27th floor.
The bar-café serves as both a meeting place for employees and a reception area for visitors, making the arrival more convivial and less formal. On either side of this bar is the agora/cafeteria, which acts as the lungs of the project. The latter is located on the south side of the building, where the view is the best because of the presence of the Old Port and the river. "The idea was to make this view accessible to everyone," explains the designers. This area is meant to be inviting because of its outdoor garden aspect set up by its custom-made furniture with lampposts reminiscent of city gardens.
The abundance of vegetation enriches the work environment and makes it pleasant and soothing. The aim is to put forward the spirit of an indoor garden. "It is through these gestures that the threshold between exterior and interior loses its definition and challenges our relationship with the exterior, even when we are more than 25 floors above ground level. Located at the ends, the sports areas have been designed as open spaces. These high bar courses add a playful touch to the work environment. It is not uncommon to see employees taking a break while moving.
Overall, the materiality of the project is simple, neutral and timeless. The work combines wood, transparency, raw concrete and white. The idea was to work on linearity and curvature for all the installations. The curve adds a softness to the work environment while reflecting the light that falls on it. These gestures are intended to finely evoke nature in addition to leaving room for the viewer by their purity and their nuanced details.
These various interventions are the result of a biophilic reflection that aims to integrate and design inspiring places that bring human beings closer to their environment through natural systems and attractions. Research has shown that designs that connect us to nature not only inspire us, but also improve our productivity and even our well-being. The lounges, the only coloured spaces in the project, give a more relaxed and invigorating feel to the work areas.
Location: 900 West de Maisonneuve, Montreal, QC, Canada.
Area: 39,320 sq. ft. / 3653 m2.
Materials used: corian, concrete, wood: oak, melamine, vinyl, carpet, metal.
Design: ISSADESIGN, design de l'environnement intégré
Integrated project management: A+
Project partners and suppliers
Stair: Fer Forgé Montréal
Wood: Unik Parquet
Vinyle : Patcraft
Verre: Vitrerie PARR
Photographer: Maxime Brouillet