ACDF conjures illusion-filled interior for Lightspeed's Montreal office

MONTREAL – Lightspeed's new headquarters spans three levels of a former station slash hotel from 1898, reinvigorating a civic square within the downtown district. Since its founding in 2005, the size of the software developer company has skyrocketed – at the speed of light – leaving behind its much smaller space in a residential neighbourhood in its startup days.

Spanning a crisp white wall and floor, the company's logo of red flames conceals the reception area, revealing itself as a desk amidst red-hued geometric shapes as individuals pass from the entry to the office.

The industrial aesthetic of the building's heavy structural elements and exposed brick walls forms a backdrop for ACDF Architecture's eye-popping scheme. Bringing the outdoors inside, elongated shadows extend from riveted iron columns, casting across crisp white floors and intentionally placed partitions. The shadows lift to unveil cabanas with felt-lined interiors in jewel yellow, red and turquoise tones for chats and meetings. To heighten the resort feeling, the communal kitchen area is immersed into a teal-blue pool, simultaneously referencing the prior office's backyard swimming pool. Filling the space with the illusion of water, Etienne Hotte's fibreglass stools complete the swim-up bar while murals by Sao Paulo graffiti artist Arlin Cristiano add an atmosphere fit for an office filled with 30-somethings. 

Rising from a sea of rough-hewn walls and timber beams, an open plan of clean white furniture and glass dividers invites Montreal grafitti artist Jason Botkin's images composed with graphic lines to inject a creative energy. Currently encompassing 2,780sq-m, the office will soon acquire an additional 1,860sq-m to be ready for the company's continued growth. The backyard oasis still has a place in the office's near-future plans, bringing outdoor amenities into the workplace. A patio will include hot tubs, BBQs and a cloud amphitheatre as well as some much-needed indoor amenities such as a cigar lounge with leather couches.

Photos Adrien Williams

Client: Lightspeed POS
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Completion: ongoing
Type: Office
Area: 28,235 sq ft (2,620sq-m)
Architect: ACDF Architecture
Architectural Project Team: Maxime-Alexis Frappier, Joan Renaud, Laure Giordani, Laurence Le Beux, Christelle Montreuil Jean-Pois
Mechanical Engineer: Groupe Ce+Co
Electrical Engineer: Scomatech
Project Managment: CBRE
General Contractor: Anjinnov Inc.
IT: Calibre Plus
AudioVisual: Environnement Electronique
Artists: Speakeasy, Arlin Cristiano, The Doodys, Jason Botkin
Special Millworkers: Etienne Hotte (pool stools) and Léandre Baillargeon (reception desk)

acdf.ca

The Frame Lab in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue – Frame #108 – dives into the formula for future-proof offices. Available 1 January 2016.

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