Office refresh

Private school administration building opens up to the light

THE HOME OF THE FEDERATION of Private Educational Institutions (Fédération des établissements d’enseignement privés, or FEEP), in Montreal, Que., has left the 1960s and joined the 21st century. Ill-suited to modern professional requirements, the old design cut staff off from each other with uncomfortable spaces to work in and collaborate.

Taktik design of Montreal was called in to redesign the FEEP headquarters completely, according to Andrée-Ann Daniels, an APDIQ-recognized interior designer at the firm. She was the project manager and co-design lead, along with Taktik’s Benoit Lachapelle.

New FEEP reception area.

“We tried to work with the existing materials, such as walnut wood on different ceilings and walls, terrazzo stairs and the stone that was on the entrance of the building to go with our green philosophy,” says Daniels.

Work on the FEEP project involved the second floor of the office building, with a new public reception area and spaces for the employees across the rest of the floor. Different rooms have been opened up and connected to the central corridors, providing more light in these different areas and promoting points of contact. On the periphery, satellite offices now offer unassigned workstations, adapting the workplace to the new reality of teleworking.

In order for employees to work in closer collaboration, “we changed some of the workspace from individual rooms to a common room,” says Daniels. Beyond the entrance area at reception, flooring was replaced with vinyl tiles in a wood pattern or with carpet tiles. “The carpet can be changed easily in the future and is used in the meeting spaces to give a soft feeling and for acoustics.”

Old reception desk.

One of the major elements of this redesign is the transformation of the old library located in the heart of the building. This room, formerly dark and partitioned, has become a place bathed in natural light. Thanks to the abundant presence of glass walls, this area is now bridging the two main corridors. Previously completely separated, employees are now able to meet in these places.

To continue the soft effect of the carpet in the space, felt is used on the walls and seating, a material that Taktik likes to employ in different ways. “We created an acoustic light fixture (from felt) for the meeting room that can host 10 to 12 people,” says Daniels. “It was to help with the acoustics while people were meeting and having a lot of discussions.

“We have an interior designer, a graphic designer and an industrial designer inside our firm so the fixture was the product of all of them.”

Refreshed library space transformed into conference meeting rooms.

The FEEP office environment completed in October 2018 includes, among other things, two closed meeting rooms with varied capacities, as well as several open but intimate work areas.

“Everyone is really happy with the changes. The FEEP employees have more contact with each other throughout the day — it has really changed the feeling inside.”

The finished Then-and-Now project is featured on each issue’s cover. Please submit project suggestions to news@wimediainc.ca.

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