Montreal, Canada, 2012-03-01 -
c3studio’s interior architecture design for Condo Canal Lachine in Montréal (Québec, Canada) won top honours in the residential/kitchen category in the annual Quebec competition Grands Prix du Design in 2011. Beyond its apparent simplicity, the interior space of the residence reveals a visual personality that evokes a monolithic sculpture rather than simply a living space.
A light space
The plan designed by Mario Painchaud, founder of c3studio, is a model of pragmatism and of the sense of the architectural unit. To take advantage of the only fenestration in the apartment, situated in the living room, he decompartmentalized the residential space by opening the kitchen and dining room onto the living room. A single support column separates the kitchen from the dining room. Moreover, the dining room has been transferred into the kitchen area for an appreciable gain in space, and the kitchen has been designed as a long, functional corridor.
And yet, Painchaud has given each area its own identity by playing on architectural elements and materials. A parallelepiped-shaped dropped ceiling visually defines the space of the kitchen and dining room. The lacquered laminate surfaces energize the kitchen by creating plays of light and perspectives. A glass panel isolates the entranceway, defined by a hot-rolled-steel floor. On the other hand, to preserve the unity of the space as a while, a light wood floor is used throughout, including in the kitchen.
Sculptural interior architecture
By systematically using cube shapes, in both the design and the furniture, Painchaud gives the impression that the space was excavated from the material, giving it a strong visual personality. Inspired by a cave dwelling, the architecture distils a feeling of enveloping intimacy.
This visual approach to the space is particularly well illustrated in the kitchen. By composing this room simply around two symmetrical volumes, “hollowed out” to accommodate counters and appliances, Painchaud gives the illusion of a monolithic sculpture excavated from an enormous block of raw material. To reinforce this illusion, the designer has ensured the purity of the lines of this “cut-out” monolith by hiding all the storage in customized cabinets and integrating the appliances and equipment (sink, cooktop, recessed lighting, and so on) into the different surfaces.
Mario Painchaud, who holds a diploma in interior design from CÉGEP Marie Victorin, a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from UQAM, and a master’s degree in architecture from the Université de Montréal, is a young Montreal designer who has quickly made his mark for his clear perception of space. In 2009, after serving an apprenticeship with major designers such as Jean-Guy Chabauty, Painchaud founded his own design studio, c3studio – the name evoking his creative credo, “Concevoir à 3 niveaux” (design on 3 levels – the levels being industrial design, interior design, and architecture). That year, he received the young designer award in the INTÉRIEURS | FERDIE design competition, emphasizing an overall vision of space that was quite unusual for a young designer. He also won first prize in the bathroom category.
Painchaud favours pure lines, simplicity, and functionality in a space. With simple gestures, he humanizes a space, making it more open, lighter, and more pleasant to live in. He also likes to minimize colour variations and uses different materials – concrete, steel, glass, and wood – to design and define the space, without encumbering it.
With this approach, Painchaud has developed an original creative language. Articulated around a global vision of the space (combining interior architecture and furniture design) and the use of simple geometric forms (for both furniture and architecture), this language can be defined as “architecture of excavation.” Painchaud “places” his parallelepiped-shaped blocks to structure his space: a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, and so on. Then, he “excavates” them to create a counter, a kitchen appliance, a dropped ceiling, and other elements. The space is no longer a void circumscribed by walls and furniture; it becomes material, excavated material, impalpable but alive.
Official name of the project: CONDO CANAL LACHINE
Location: MONTRÉAL / (PETITE-BOURGOGNE), QUÉBEC, CANADA
Client: ANDRÉE FOREST
Designer: MARIO PAINCHAUD / C3STUDIO
Project manager: MARIO PAINCHAUD
Surface: 700 PI² / 65 m²
Project end date: Août 2011
Carpenter : ESPACE CUISINE
Steel: FÉLIX LEPAGE
Concrete : M3BÉTON
Photographer : STEVE MONTPETIT