Atelier Big City and KANVA win Grands Prix du Design

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At the awards ceremony of the Grands Prix du Design on February 15, 2016, at the Casino de Montréal, Atelier Big City (Adjunct Professor Howard Davies, Randy Cohen and Anne Cormier, all BArch 1982) won an award for their project “7-Plex” in the category Residential Space, 1,600 sq. ft. or lessKANVA (Rami Bebawi and Tudor Radulescu, both MArch 2001) won an award for the project “Frank & Oak: Montreal, Stanley Street” in the category Commercial Space, 1,600 to 5,400 sq. ft.

Jury comments on “7-Plex” (Atelier Big City): “Entering this housing unit is like entering a vividly coloured living environment of geometric units where functionality is expressed as pure form. The spatial organization is characterized by sculptural, functional shapes, which break down traditional, confining closures and create a spatial openness for everyday living spaces. Walls and modules are designed like furnishings. Finished in laminated wood, they are fashioned as simple volumes. Hardware is concealed to reduce, or even hide, any reference to the workings of everyday life and to preserve the purity of the volumes. The subtle management of colour enhances the understanding of the environment and adds to the appreciation of the sculptural and abstract qualities of the shapes within. A play of openings in the volumes allows visual connections to be made between certain distinct spaces. The skilful treatment given the communicating areas as well as the overall daring and dynamism of the design is what caught the jury’s attention.”

Jury comments on “Frank & Oak: Montreal, Stanley Street” (KANVA): “The collaboration between the KANVA design firm and the men’s fashion brand Frank & Oak is a beautiful example of a meeting of elegant minds. The renowned clothing company retained this team of architects, which, for the last 10 years, has been creating spaces that have a narrative and that are markers of the city’s contemporary culture, to design its flagship 5,200 sq. ft. store located in the heart of Montreal. The architectural transformation uses the verticality of the new open atrium to unify and give coherence to the space’s multiple functions. The store on three levels houses a clothing boutique, a barbershop and a café. The interior strategy showcases the building’s original palette of brick and steel, creating a rich contrast with Frank & Oak’s more refined products. Another layer of warmth is characterized by white oak accents, of which the most notable are the staircase and the clothing displays. This exceptional space has made the store a place to meet people and hang out. The quality of the design provides an experience of harmony and refinement that feels like a most natural fit.”

From the Grands Prix du Design website: “The Grands Prix du Design is an annual contest aimed at showcasing the talent of Quebec-based designers and architects. The awards ceremony, a true celebration of excellence in design, is an event attended by all the major players of the industry. It is also a special edition of INTÉRIEURS magazine. The contest is a testimony to the talent of Québec designers and architects presenting residential, commercial, institutional or office and contract projects plus products design. The laureates and their projects are all featured in a special edition of INTÉRIEURS magazine which is entirely dedicated to the contest and launched at the event in January. Every year, the Design community anxiously awaits the unveiling of the winning projects of the Grands Prix du Design announced at this awards ceremony and maintains the magazine as a reference and promotional tool.”