Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Table, Chair, WindowsCardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Wood, Chair, GlassCardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior PhotographyCardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Kitchen, SinkCardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - More Images+ 20

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Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Table, Chair, Windows
© Alex Lesage

Text description provided by the architects. Cardigan is a young and dynamic Montreal-based digital advertising agency founded in 2016. As their need for expansion grew fast, their team was looking for a new location that could accommodate their 25 employees. In 2020, they found this two-story high stone building located in the heart of the Rosemont borough of Montreal. Originally built to be a bank in 1907, the building had many lives over the years and was most recently used as a religious establishment. Consisting of a 1250 square-foot open space on the ground floor, the building holds an equal-sized basement underneath and an independent residential condominium above. With its unique history and architectural features, the space seemed like a great place for Cardigan’s new offices.

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Table, Chair
© Alex Lesage
Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Image 24 of 25

One of the main challenges of working with the building was the contrasting ceiling heights between each floor. Although the ground floor has a generous 16.5 feet of clearance, the basement is only 7 feet high and has no windows. This made the spacial blocking very important at the start of the project. To benefit from a maximum of natural light, all workstations are placed on the ground floor, with bathrooms, kitchen, lounge, and storage in the basement.

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Wood, Chair, Glass
© Alex Lesage
Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Windows, Door
© Alex Lesage

Although the ground floor is very spacious and open, its footprint remains insufficient for 25 desks with meeting rooms. Thankfully, the vastly high ceiling allowed for a mezzanine to be added to a portion of the space. To avoid blocking the grand arched windows on the main façades, the mezzanine was placed in the opposing corner, near the existing closed staircase.

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Stairs
© Alex Lesage

This added space above is used for a handful of employees that need a more intimate working environment. The closed space underneath the mezzanine, on the other hand, is perfect for several meeting and call rooms that can be quickly accessed from the open space.

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Image 25 of 25

From the beginning, the ground floor featured beautiful architectural qualities in itself, so the intervention is meant to feel subtle. To begin, the entire floor was already spacious and bright, so it was entirely painted white. Existing moldings were kept intact to reflect the multiple stories the building has to tell. The newly-built mezzanine structure interprets the curves of the existing space without competing with them. Still fitting with its light environment, the mezzanine is covered with a perforated steel mesh. This delicate screen adds privacy, while still letting the natural light reach into the meeting rooms. Some of the glazed walls are recessed from the mesh to create an intermediate layer for planters. To let even more light in, the boarded window arches were reopened to their original form. Finally, the old parquet was replaced by a new natural oak finish, keeping the warm spirit of the existing floor.

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Windows, Chair, Table
© Alex Lesage

With low ceilings and no exterior windows in the basement, recreating the bright and spacious atmosphere of the ground floor was nearly impossible. Instead, it is a different universe of its own. To contrast with the delicate and classic design above, the basement has a more futuristic “in your face” approach. None of the materials used on the ground floor are found here. A mix of plastered ceilings, ceramic walls, and epoxy floors make for an intentionally more austere environment. Everything is artificial and nothing is white. Bright baby blue hues cover the main kitchen area with contrasting warm orange rooms on the periphery. A neutral matte grey palette serves for the sanitary block. The spaces are all monochromatic, to increase the visual impact of their intense colors but also help camouflage the imperfections of the existing building. Reflective materials such as stainless steel, high-gloss laminate, and an abundance of mirrors help brighten up the compact space.

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography
© Alex Lesage
Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Stairs, Arch
© Alex Lesage
Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography
© Alex Lesage

To join the two floors together, two very different staircases can be used. The first is a classical wooden staircase that seems to have been there for the past century. The second, more minimalistic and playful with its two curved ceiling arches, was added for this renovation. To unite the two styles, they are each painted a deep navy blue. In a way, the two staircases, like many other contradicting design features of the project, represent Cardigan very well: they are a company that values quality and hard work and has numerous high-profile clients, all the while being a group of fun, down to earth individuals that love to have a good time.

Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO - Interior Photography, Stairs, Handrail
© Alex Lesage

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Project location

Address:Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Montreal, QC, Canada

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Cardigan Office / IVYSTUDIO" 01 Jun 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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