The fine balance between opacity and transparency

ACDF Architecture is proud to unveil the Lafond Desjardins dental laboratory in Laval, a new facility that demonstrates that despite being too often forgotten by architects, industrial buildings offer great opportunities to create sensitive and refined architecture. The client sought to create a space perfectly tailored to its needs, with a level of sophistication capable of reflecting the company’s longstanding vitality and its vision of marrying artisanal work and advanced technology.


Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Luminous understatement in an industrial setting

ACDF proposed a relatively minimalist architectural concept inspired by the different manufacturing methods used by the dental laboratory. ACDF designed the project from a series of volumetric extractions applied to an opaque volume covered with dark and textured bricks. Intended to provide the perfect dose of fenestration for the various programmatic functions of the laboratory as well as outdoor terraces for the employees, the volumetric extractions generated a powerful visual contrast between the textured black brick envelope and the smoother and whitish aspect of the glass sections. The fine balance between opacity and transparency, dark and white, allows the creation of an aesthetically interesting industrial building that contributes to the architectural landscape of the district.


Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The Lafond Desjardins dental laboratory has a prominent location on Industriel Blvd., a major artery in Laval’s main industrial district. ACDF designed the building to be a beacon, shining in the distance. At night, the white screen-printed glass glows thanks to a backlight effect created by lights inside, and by day sunlight shining on the windows creates an overexposure effect. Highly textured, antique-finish black bricks cover the rest of the building to give it a contemporary look full of contrasts – an ACDF signature.


Photo credit: Adrien Williams

A volumetry that reflects the programmatic needs of interior spaces

All volumetric subtractions have their specific purpose, whether to meet different programmatic requirements or to provide optimal natural lighting based on carefully studied solar trajectories.


Photo credit: Adrien Williams

A double-height foyer, terraces upstairs accessed from common spaces and administrative offices, floor-to-ceiling windows strategically positioned based on the architectural program: the contrasting shapes and tones resulting from this volumetric work attract the gaze of passers-by without being overbearing. A minimalist space overall, the double-height foyer includes a reception desk, a waiting area for visitors and a naturally lit kiosk for patients who have come for colour tests for their crowns and dental prostheses. The curved pale wood furniture of the reception area facilitates fluid traffic.


Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Well-being and functionality

A staircase backing onto the outer wall of the fabrication workshop leads upstairs to the employee lounge and kitchen, which lead to two terraces. The common area is equipped with white countertops and kitchen cabinets as well as a large island providing an additional work surface and lunch counter. Across from the island, ACDF created a dining room with tables and chairs in pale wood resembling the panelling in the alcove, which features a built-in black banquette. In keeping with the space’s industrial character, the ventilation ducts, mechanical equipment and roof structure are all exposed and painted white. The large space is also suitable for hosting occasional events during which clients can meet the team and receive training in new fabrication techniques.


Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The new building, black on the outside and brilliant white inside, is the result of an approach sensitive to its industrial setting, which now features a sophisticated dental laboratory and productive workspace. The concept juxtaposes raw, dark qualities with refined and brilliant ones, symbolizing the present and future transformation of industrial districts.

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 atelier’s work balances what is necessary with what is possible, arriving at beauty in the blend.