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Phénix House: Appareil Architecture is Inspired by the Mixing of Cultures to Renovate a Montreal House

Architect: APPAREIL Architecture

Contractor: Paquet Construction

Cabinet maker: Kastella

Photographer: Félix Michaud

Press Distribution: v2com

About APPAREIL Architecture

APPAREIL Architecture is a Montreal-based firm whose mission is to design high-quality, bespoke residential and commercial environments that are unique for their residents. Our clean and contemporary signature is greatly inspired by our Nordic roots, and our projects bear witness to our desire to find a balance between tradition and modernity.

In an effort to improve its sustainable development practice, the firm has obtained an ECO-RESPONSIBLE certification issued by Ecocert and participates in several mentoring programs such as well as Montreal’s Parcours Développement Durable.

Its work has been recognized and rewarded throughout the years. Among several distinctions, APPAREIL Architecture received the OAQ’s “Relève en Architecture 2020” award and the “Public’s Choice” award at the AZ AWARDS 2020, for the Le Dernier Petit Cochon project at the Reford Gardens.

The firm was a double-laureate at the “Grands Prix du Design” awards in 2019 for the Pastel Rita project and the Floe chair. The firm was also the recipient of Canadian Interior’s “Best of Canada” prize in 2017 for the Hoogan & Beaufort restaurant and was nominated for the “Emerging Talent” award by Canadian Architect in 2016.

With the Phénix House, APPAREIL Architecture adds its signature to a bright and harmonious space, where the path unfolds in softness. With attention to even the smallest of details, the renovation of this Montreal duplex manages to make different styles cohabitate, creating a project in the likeness of its clients.

Following a fire, the owners wished to refurbish their 2600 square foot residence in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood. On the program: opening up the ground floor space, optimizing the openings onto the back garden, maximizing natural light, and furbishing the basement and second floor to respond to the family’s needs.

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Contrasting spaces

The project’s identity was inspired by the mingling of cultures between this couple of European and Asian heritage. The home finds a balance between a blend of influences, styles, and materials.

The kitchen was bespoke to respond to the clients’ desire to have a professional, bullet-proof kitchen, that could host and respond to the whole family’s needs. At its heart, an enormous island renders space functional and full of character.

Made of stainless steel, it contributes to an industrial aesthetic that contrasts with the white and the residential wood surrounding it, bringing a balance between a cold and a warmer physicality to space. With the aim of creating a friendly and bright space, the opening onto the back garden has been highlighted.

A sequenced path

On the ground floor, if all the spaces are open onto one another, they are discovered as you progress through the path. Wood-paneled screens of Japanese influence punctuate the sequences and create rich sub-spaces that simultaneously dissimulate and reveal. The spaces between the wooden slats and the floor’s grating contribute to the home’s light play.

The central staircase plays an important role: it is the link between the spaces. While segmenting the kitchen and the living room without completely sealing them off, it creates a connection between the levels and adds movement. It was left open to allow the light from the light shaft to cut across all levels down to the basement. Its steel, wood, and glass materiality bring clarity to space while reinforcing the connection between the different rooms.

A bespoke design

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One of the project’s main components is its integrated furniture, situated on the ground floor. A hybrid space, it answers the family’s need for storage and for office space in the living area. APPAREIL Architecture created wooden furnishings with horizontal lines that host a couch, a desk, a buffet, and storage spaces. An elegant and efficient design that cleverly optimizes the space.

Everything in the project was bespoke, from the chairs to the integrated furniture, through to the kitchen and the stairs. From there emerges a language coherent at all the levels of the project and a unique signature. An interior project all in finesse.