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Contemporary cubism

Sarah Pacini

IN THE HEART OF MONTREAL’S PLATEAU NEIGHBOURHOOD, A WARM YET MAGNIFICENTLY MODERN DWELLING BRINGS A WHOLE NEW MEANING TO CUBISM. JOIN US AS WE TOUR THIS AIRY, INSPIRING DESIGN WHERE THE TOUGHEST MATERIALS HAVE BEEN PUT TO BRILLIANT USE.

Starting fresh so frequently involves a creative combination of desire and imagination. After more than 30 years together, this couple returned to Montreal following several years in Boston, and felt they were up to the challenge. While living in the heart of Harvard Square, both had rediscovered the charm of a lively, urban neighbourhood, where people do their grocery shopping on foot, surrounded by stylish buildings from a bygone era.

Back in Montreal, they criss-crossed the streets of the city until they found a duplex with plenty of potential, right in the heart of the Plateau. All it needed was a complete rebuild! Working with architect Henri Cleinge, they decided on a U-shaped design of 19-foot modular cubes that would make full use of the deep lot. The materials chosen for the exterior set the tone for the overall look: a solemn envelope of grey-brown brick with oxidized brass panels.

Inside, several floor-to-ceiling glass walls, a central bridge on the ground floor linking the front of the house to the rear, and one long, continuous hallway connecting all the rooms are among the key elements. The linear approach appealed to the owners, who liken the experience to walking by a series of display windows featuring different scenes–a veritable theatre of comfortable living. The centre of the home features a green zone that receives full sun in the afternoon. It is accessible from the adjacent areas via sliding glass doors. When this doors are open, it creates an even larger space, airy and filled with light.

A green zone at the back lets early sunlight into the kitchen without sacrificing a two –car garage– a highly coveted luxury in this neighbourhood. As I explored the home with owner Manon Bélanger (herself a professional designer), I was aware of the visual purity of the space, created through a clever balance of solid materials and sophisticated design. In every room, one experiences a very pleasant sensation of “grounded floating.”

A fine sense of focus has resulted in an environment that is both contemporary and warm: a sleek kitchen in mushroom tones, with a low toe-kick space and monoblock look; a floating, linear staircase; ceiling-mounted door tracks; glass doors; polished concrete floors and no mouldings.

Ms. Bélanger was inspired by her travels to Europe (including a stop at the famous Salone del Mobile in Milan), visits to local boutiques and intensive online research, which led her to designers, craftspeople, contractors and suppliers, whom she contacted with the help of her husband. It took three years, but these new cubist masters now have an inner-city sanctuary that suits their souls.

manonbelanger.com

Contemporary cubism – e-mag

Photos : Adrien Williams

Sarah Pacini