In downtown Montreal, a loft for an artist who collects contemporary art and design objects is intended to be a tribute to creativity. Architect Jean Verville designed this unusual interior, which is both playfully colourful and sometimes a calm, peaceful white. To satisfy a client who wants his home life to stimulate creativity and lead him to explore new avenues of work, Verville offers an environment that distils the essence of its owner. Using minimal interventions and simple materials, the architect awakens the senses and blurs the perception of the space.
With five coloured pencils in the client’s favourite shades, Verville sketched on white paper what was to be the background of the project. He designed an open dwelling that would host the client’s large collection of artworks and created storage solutions so that the owner can rotate the pieces on display, engaging in a process of constant renewal of the space.
The interventions performed at the architectural level modify the usual domestic proportions and help to offer an extraordinary experience. Whether they are white, coloured, or panelled with mirrors, the cabinets structure the space of the loft. They multiply perspectives and add to the overall reflectiveness on the shiny floor to offer a multiplied space. The all-yellow sleeping space also contains concealed storage chests and becomes a multipurpose sculptural space. Throughout, the large, the small, and the tiny rub shoulders, accentuating contrasts of scale. The floor has insertions of coloured vinyl and a glossy epoxy coating, and the palette of paint shades is custom formulated and applied with unique blends prepared by an artist.
Ultimately, the project is an experiment in housing that presents a fertile mixture of architecture, art, and design. Jean Verville’s architectural practice is based on experimentation and exploration. In each of his projects – residential or commercial, installation or scenography – he imagines architecture as akin to sculpture. He transposes lines and volumes in an almost immaterial reality, projecting the user into the sketch. His structures present sculptural volumes with a strong materiality that amplifies their expressiveness. His attention is fully focused on unique architecture using simple means.
This year, Verville opened up his practice with a collaboration with singer-songwriter Pierre Lapointe. Together, they created a remarkable installation for the Big Bang exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. Currently, in addition to designing three residences, he is planning a research trip to Japan, where he will develop an experiential residential concept.Location: Montreal, Canada Architect: Jean Verville Typology: Dwelling (loft)
Area: 1400 square feet
Year designed: 2011
Year built: 2011
Colours and finishes: M.F.B.B.
Architectural cabinetmaker: Pierre Daigle
Upholsterer: Salomon Del-Cid
Acrylic mirrors: Judith Lamour Photos: Jean Verville architecte