The “inhabitable sculpture” project, which received two awards at the Grands prix du design 2011, is the result of four years of work executed by numerous fabrication and installation teams. Two premises were established by the client at the beginning of the project: “a space that people will find cold” and “living in an art gallery.” All designers hope, sooner or later, to obtain such a commission, which enables them to avoid subjecting their work to the obvious sacrosanct “warmth” obtained through wood.
In response to the owner’s request, the space was emptied of what the developers of the housing project had planned for her small 800-square-foot housing unit. Once the space was reduced to its original industrial concrete walls, floors, and ceilings, a delicate multifunctional sculptural piece of furniture made of raw aluminum, inspired by Donald Judd’s work, was installed. Its combined modules fulfil all of the dwelling’s functions: bed, walk-in closet, bookshelf, sofa, counter, stools, kitchen, and storage. A special attribute of this complex object is a room within the room generated by a system of suspended sliding doors attached only at the top. The resulting “corridor of arches” gives access to the walk-in closet.
Two other interventions complete the main area’s aluminum functional sculpture. A technical glass block contains appliances, storage, and the water heater, and an old concrete vault houses the bathroom. Although small in size (10′ x 10′), the bathroom is entirely finished in black. The full-height and -width mirrors on one of its walls create a surprising sensation of “absorbed vastness.”
This project, designed in 2007 but completed in 2011, catalyzed the development of a furniture collection that Jean-Maxime Labrecque has had underway for 10 years. All of the architect’s projects are composed exclusively of custom-made furniture.
Jean-Maxime Labrecque Architect
Architect Jean-Maxime Labrecque began his professional career with a series of six exhibition design commissions in Europe, including his main accomplishment to date, the Archeoforum in Liège, Belgium (2003). The project consists of an underground museographic journey through the 33,000 square feet of the vestiges of a 10th century cathedral, covered since the 1960s by a modern public square. At the end of 2008, he spent two months in New Delhi, India, to review the design of two large buildings for a new city. For nearly 10 years, he has been working on the architectural and interior designs of the future Charlie Chaplin Museum in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. In Quebec, his native province, he completed about 15 residential and commercial projects, in addition to exhibit design commissions for the City of Montréal.
In conjunction with his professional practice, he undertakes visual art and photography projects. He is currently completing a collection of furniture for which the first prototypes have been unveiled in the fall of 2012. Finally, also noteworthy are two articles written for Standard, a Parisian magazine. One of them was on the CCTV and the other was on the Maison de Bordeaux, two OMA/Rem Koolhaas projects.
A dozen of his projects won awards at various contests on ideas in architecture, interior design and graphic design. In December 2011, his Inhabitable sculpture project won two prizes, including a jury special award.
As the architect is convinced that classical modernism can still provide solutions to bring balance and harmony back to today’s overloaded chaotic world, his projects are based on simple and clear principles.Architect: Jean-Maxime Labrecque Photos: Frédéric Bouchard
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