Designer: La Firme
Three arched windows on the fourth floor of a heritage building on Old Montreal’s St Pierre Street let the light in on a space that seems to bridge dimensions. This project’s client was anything but typical, and he and the studio have a longstanding relationship. Both are compelled to push against expectations and sidestep conventions.
In the early 2000’s, the fourth-floor unit suffered an ill-conceived renovation resulting in conflicting odd angles, wasted space, a dysfunctional kitchen, and a long black wall that consumed light. The antidote was clear: light, openness, enduring design.
The studio set out to decrease reliance on artificial light, reuse existing appliances and plumbing emplacements, and preserve the space’s timeless features. Foundational thinking favoured the tasteful over the trendy.
Everything was gutted and straightened out. The entry’s sense of compression pays off with the expansive living room. The client had defining pieces he wanted the room organised around: a classic couch by Edward Wormley and a lighting fixture by Serge Mouille. Wood ceilings, light-painted brick and white floors helped illuminate the space. The guest bathroom was expanded. A sauna with smoked glass wall, opaque with the interior lights extinguished, replaced the guest bedroom.
The kitchen was redone for function and beauty, but its island, made from four slabs of Italian Daedalus stone, is the unit’s real centrepiece. The slabs of this distinctive stone are 2 cm thick, polished and honed. They required precision milling and assembly, pushing the limits of working in stone. Along with the studio-designed kitchen lighting, it makes a defining statement.
The master suite feels like a set from the movie Interstellar. The mirrored back wall in the black-tiled bathroom bounces light from the windows back into the bright, warm bedroom. The effect is like looking through the receding gates of a pan-dimensional tunnel.
This was a unique project, born of the symbiosis between client and design studio. Informed by a singular personality, it’s also a logical next step in a design studio’s aesthetic evolution.