Productive Comfort by ACDF Architecture
When American video game publisher 2K tasked ACDF to design its Montreal office, the local firm came up with a creative approach more akin to a boutique hotel than a tech headquarters. With its warmth and sophistication, the project is a fine example of how ACDF reinvents the ambiance of specific programs, like offices, and infuses traditional elements with emotion without extravagance.
As a starting premise, ACDF took inspiration from mid-century residential architecture and played with proportions, sightlines and a monochrome colour scheme. Across the 30,000-square-foot space, which can accommodate over 150 people, ACDF has fashioned dimly lit areas, answering a very specific work environment for developers, and other nooks flooded with light that resemble garden cafes and outdoor terraces. The collection of different atmospheres, from more private to more public, are fused together under one cohesive design.
The adaptive reuse office is modelled on the theme of contrasting soothing darkness and stimulating light. ACDF created contrasting areas for focused, independent work with a darker, intimate aesthetic and brighter areas with white ceilings that convey openness and collaboration. Each team has its own, dedicated open area for individual work, characterized by furniture that corresponds with muted colours of carpeting in their small offices and meeting spaces. The "gardens" are therefore equipped with a wood decking, black metal structures, supports for writing boards and hanging plants, and white curtains, which can be opened or closed, depending on the level of privacy desired.
Rather than adding traditional walls to divide the floor plate, ACDF utilized the spaces between existing structures and closed central volumes to create non-linear circulation with moments that encourage interaction, thus fostering a sense of team spirit. From utility areas to elevator shafts, a series of internal units are unified visually and wrapped in a warm palette of copper panels, wood panels, and tinted glass. Varying lighting strategies, from backlit tensile to exposed ductwork, give the feeling of expansive ceilings throughout. Other details are pale oak cabinetry, polished concrete floors, and furniture pieces that are both sober and elegant, inspiring a retro-futuristic atmosphere of the space.
Office spaces in Montreal, like most major cities, are emptying because of the pandemic, and many employers and building owners are striving for ways to create enticing workplaces. Through high-quality materials and thoughtful detailing, ACDF has designed an environment that welcomes and inspires, by providing both larger areas for group work and socialization balanced with private spaces akin to the comfort of one’s home to fully focus on work.
About ACDF Architecture
A design practice rooted in Montreal and reaching around the globe, ACDF’s increasingly ambitious endeavours include commercial, residential, hospitality, interiors, and master planning projects on every scale. Founded in 2006, ACDF has been granted numerous awards and accolades over the years, recognizing their sensitive approach that honours the spirit of a site, giving each and every building its own identity, arising out of the particulars of place and program. Under the direction of Maxime-Alexis Frappier, Joan Renaud, and Etienne Laplante Courchesne, the collaborative, agile, and inventive 95-person atelier brings rigour to the realization of a project, even as they invest it with new meaning for today and tomorrow. Founded on a dual mindset of pragmatism and creativity, the firm’s work balances what is necessary with what is possible, arriving at beauty in the blend.