For the 2012 edition of the Montreal International Design Show, François Palmer and Jean-François Rousseau, Montreal industrial designers specializing in carpeting, feature a retrospective of the work that they have done over the past year. Their business began with the making of Ajusté carpeting addressing the issue of eco-design, and today Couper Croiser has established its pedigree by covering the floors of prestigious Quebec buildings.
Plays on texture, insertions, signals, cut-outs, and eco-design are the trademarks of François Palmer and Jean-François Rousseau’s firm Couper Croiser. Their constantly growing clientele now reaches beyond the residential as they collaborate with architects and designers to respond to commercial demand, offering a contrast to the standard North American offer in textile floor coverings. The turnkey consultation, design, and fabrication service is highly appreciated by these professionals, because, as Palmer explains, “Our expertise in terms of industrial design and graphic design, as well as our experience in carpeting and our creativity, results in a good quality/originality/cost ratio for our clients.” In enhancing sites such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the offices of Autodesk, Couper Croiser delivers savoir-faire about the relationship between body and material that avoids mental inertia. Because Palmer and Rousseau work closely with each client, Couper Croiser’s commercial projects are practical, decorative, and distinctive, as well as offering thermal and acoustic properties.
Family of carpets for the offices of Autodesk / Client: Moureaux Hauspy + Associés Designers
Autodesk, a software design and digital content firm, is a world leader in creation of 2D and 3D software. So, what could be more stimulating than to play on the conceptual process of pixelation and digital logic when building and designing such a space! And that is what was imagined for the design of the large central area carpet, which consists of a patchwork based on a hexagonal pattern that disrupts the general perception of the hall. This sensation is heightened because the furniture chosen in the collaboration with Moureaux Hauspy Designers intensifies, through the proliferation of chairs, the optical illusion of digital profusion. Finally, interplays between densification and dedensification define a spacious area where employees can relax and play video games on large screens during their breaks. The large central area carpet was designed in separate sections, which makes it modular; in fact, one eco-design principle is to design in a modular way so that objects becomes multipurpose, adaptable, and evolutionary. This mix of loop, pile, and doormat carpeting matches the space’s mutability by playing on the typomorphology of each section.
Carpeting for the lobby of the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) / Client: MMFA
The commission from the MMFA was initially defined as a configuration of “original” carpeting covering the floor for the winter. Couper Croiser saw a need to distinctively “build in” to the carpeting a pathway suggesting the different spaces attached to the reception area. The insertion of a wide line offers a functional and architectural path, leading visitors from the entrance to the ticket office, then to the coatroom. Playing on broken angles, the carpets indicate the way to go, finally revealing a peaceful and rational place. This is a doormat-type carpet, absorbent and resistant to snow and calcium.
Family of carpets for the hall of Cinéma Ex-Centris / Client: FABG
Among the remarkable qualities of the two principals at Couper Croiser, one is a considerable asset in their design approach: the ability to project, at a reasonable cost, a unique visual and technical effect. This was their challenge when they worked with architects FABG to restructure the entrance, box office, and lobby for the theatres at Cinéma Ex-Centris in Montreal. Beyond the intrinsic qualities that carpeting represents in terms of decoration, the project also had to answer essential acoustic questions with a view to attenuating the noise that a space with such high ceilings can engender. After 44 years, the space needed updating, though without undergoing major renovations. The cinema wanted to freshen its image without altering its shell, and so the carpeting and furnishings became interesting, inexpensive options for achieving the goal. Using strong and reactive mental images borrowed from cinematographic and technological language, the resistant, absorbent carpets draw out borders on the floor playing upon the transversal nature of the space.
Carpeting for the sales office of Développement McGill / Client: Sid Lee Architecture
“We work often with Sid Lee Architecture, since our services save them time,” states Palmer. Saving the valuable time of architectural firms is yet another strength of Couper Croiser! By offering custom commercial carpets, Couper Croiser can, just like architects and designers, play on shapes to definitively shape a space. Here, “faceted” triangular shapes recall the three-dimensional structure installed on the ceiling. Like an imprint on the floor, the colours, cut-outs, and combinations of carpeting create a dynamic path from the entrance to the offices. This project involved close collaboration with the architects, since shapes and colours were conceived simultaneously with the rest of the interior layout.
Carpeting for the offices of Développement McGill / Client: Sid Lee Architecture
The Branches motif has become a classic of Couper Croiser. In rugs and mats, it covers many residential vestibule floors in Montreal. It isn’t surprising that, when the client’s commission involves the rehabilitation of a damaged floor, the sparing of the material, inscribed by the ornamentation from the Branches collection, is the natural response to such a project. The openwork motifs offer an original and economical way to break up the rigidity of straight lines and enliven out-of-the-way, less-used spaces. All the walls are white. The preliminary colour imagined was black. In the end, a mix of charcoal grey and black proved a good compromise in the creation of a elegant, warm space.
Carpeting for the lobby and hallways of Club Sommet / Client: Kaezar
Club Sommet defines itself as a reinvention of the urban oasis: a haven of modernity in the heart of downtown Montreal. How could the contemporary nature of the lobby of an urban apartment building be revealed without stigmatizing the ambience of a place used daily by its inhabitants? The response here was simplicity. When all that is needed is to “be present,” the carpets designed by Jean-François Rousseau and François Palmer speak for themselves. There are no frills or mannerisms, but harmony and distinction above all.
The latest news
You will soon be able to find Couper Croiser at the Montreal International Trade Show, May 24–26, 2012, where 300 exhibitors will present their innovations and current trends in design, ideas, and discoveries. Also, rugs for each room of a major hotel project have been designed and produced for Lemay Michaud and will be delivered this summer; keep an eye out for this project!