|Project Name||Crew Collective & Café||Posted in||Café, Design, Interior Design||Opening Hours||Monday to Friday 08.00 - 20.00 / Saturday to Sunday 10.00 - 19.00|
The past and present always have a way of interconnecting and the new offices of the Montreal, Canada-based tech startup, Crew, embodies this relationship. Housed in what used to be the aptly named, Royal Bank Building on St. Jacques Street, this 12,000 square foot space was transformed by the design team of Henri Cleinge and Paulette Taillefer, and completed in May 2016. Along with the dedicated office space, it also includes a welcoming café for both freelancers and public patrons who are seeking a unique ambiance to savour their morning (or afternoon) espresso.
The original Royal Bank building was built in 1926 and features all the drama of the decade, including soaring 50-foot high coffered ceilings, theatrical archways, grand staircases, inlayed marble flooring, brass chandeliers and gilded touches throughout. One can just imagine the awe this all-encompassing splendor created "back in the day" when people would get dressed up in their best and top hats to go to town on bank business.
Nowadays, those frequenting the Crew Offices and Café are likely to be dressed in more casual attire such as jeans, tees and beanie caps, and the décor additions and alterations that have been made flawlessly reflect this lifestyle change. This includes comfortable sofas and chairs to lounge upon, practical desks to work at, clean and minimal delineations of office spaces (both those for permanent Crew employees as well as for freelancers who are afforded the opportunity to rent an office space on the premises) and the silver sheen of the stainless steel coffee machines.
As none of these new additions were allowed to interfere with the existing architectural elements of the original building, the design team came up with the solution to place the new within the old and to seemingly treat the entire space as a modern day, open-plan studio. But instead of the unrestricted floorplan of, say, an abandoned warehouse, the new tenants benefit from a rich, stunning background that elevates their entire setup in which the mix of the two distinct styles work together, with the ornate old surrounding the linear new.
This was achieved by not closing off the spaces intended for the Crew's private offices and conference rooms but by enclosing these in brass plated, steel "boxes" with various glass partitions and doors so that they are virtually see-through. Then the designers went so far as to inventively use the existing bank teller stands -- all carved wood and gilded touches -- as an eye-catching divider between the public accessed café, the freelance desks and offices, and Crew's private spaces.
The warm ambiance achieved in the design of Crew's Offices and Café can't help but inspire the creativity of anyone who steps through the former Bank's carved, gilded doorways and into the thoroughly modern melding of theatricality and function, flamboyance and minimalism, heritage and the present.