Quartz Co., a company specializing in Canadian-made winter jackets, enlisted Blanchette Architectes, Rainville Sangaré, and A+ to develop its first retail space located at 5445 avenue De Gaspé, in Montréal. The furniture was designed and built by Rainville Sangaré, while Blanchette Architectes was responsible for space design. The two firms worked in conjunction with the marketing team at Quartz Co. as well as the project-management team at A+.
“We see this first space as a sort of laboratory; our goal is to open more Quartz Co. stores around the globe in the coming years,” said Francis Guindon, Director of Global Marketing and Communications at Quartz Co. “As part of this exercise, we had to take into consideration the new reality of retail, including a multi-channel brand experience, a high-end approach, a showroom-like physical atmosphere, and a personalized-service strategy.”
“At the architectural level, our mandate was to develop a unique universe by focusing on minimalism, timelessness, and innovation,” said Patrick Blanchette, Architect and President of Blanchette Architectes.
On one side of the space is the workshop. Visible from the street, it proudly highlights the fact that the brand’s wares are manufactured locally. On the other side is the boutique, which features an interplay of lights, mirrors, grids, and screens developed by Blanchette Architectes as well as custom-made furniture by Rainville Sangaré. The mirrored walls, which are punctuated by displays of coats in alcoves, offer an alternate perception of the space, and the double reflection provides the customer with multiple views — useful when trying on clothes.
Rainville Sangaré used its expertise in noble materials and manufacturing processes to create harmony between the presentation of products and the physical and visual comforts sought by the customer. In addition to the furniture, the studio designed a system of stainless-steel poles that don’t need to be attached to the walls; instead, friction and tension hold them in place. Hardware and fastening pieces were left visible to demonstrate the accuracy with which the job was carried out. Ash – locally sourced and FSC-certified – was used because its texture contrasts with the other materials and because it adds a touch of warmth to space.
“It is an approach to design that reveals the quality of materials and the rigor of the workmanship; this aligns with the vision of the company, which also develops its products with this approach,” explained Lambert Rainville, Industrial Designer and Co-founder of Rainville Sangaré.
A combination of industrial precision and artistic sensibility, the design is a reflection of how Quartz Co. creates and manufactures its coats. The interior details speak to the brand’s quest for handmade high-end products[MDL1]. Since the coats are made locally, the design choices for space also had to tell this story, which is why the teams opted for materials such as ash, the most common wood species on the island of Montreal, and solid industrial materials such as concrete and stainless steel.