Located in the 1926 Royal Bank building on St-Jacques street in Old Montreal, Canada, the Crew offices is a project defined by an office area for a tech start-up which would also include a café for freelance workers as well as for the public.
Part of the 1115m2 floor area was to be designated for permanent Crew employees, with conference rooms as well as other office standards; other areas were to be rented to freelance workers either by the month or by the week, also with access to conference rooms. Lastly, temporary workers or the public could also use the café and the desks for a few hours, having Wi-Fi access, and lockers for their computers as required.
The design was meant to nurture co-working and interactions between the employees. Transparent and translucent borders in a complex series of glass walls were erected between the various areas, with a defined access to reflect the degree of permanency for each worker group. The existing bank teller stands from the old Royal Bank which were not to be removed, were used as a natural border between the café space and the conference rooms.
The inlay marble floor, an ornate painted plaster ceiling along with custom suspended brass light fixtures, and brass elements such as the teller stands were preserved. The design had to be carefully balanced to express, recycle, and respect the existing shell, as well as simultaneously allowing a contemporary discreet intervention reflecting the contemporary identity of the firm to exist.
Τhe existing ornate brass elements dialogue with the brass plated steel walls and ceiling of the cubic minimal enclosures.
The new design remains a kind of secondary feature, allowing the original building to be the primary feature. It is only by being in the space for a certain amount of time that one can appreciate the new intervention.
Design by: Henri Cleinge, architecte
Photos by: Adrien Williams