Inhabitable Sculpture: Ultramodern Montreal Loft
There is something to be said for the clean-lined aesthetic of a metal-centric retrofit of a warehouse space – but does form take on a life of its own, or still serve a function?
This project in Montreal by Jean-Maxime Labrecque certainly has a few unique twists, but what sets it apart from similar interiors is, in part, the fact that most photos show someone actually occupying the spaces.
In some cases, this shows off neat functionality, like a sleek metal surfacing concealing a huge and useful walk-in close, or what it might be like to sit at this table or lean on that counter.
In others, it perhaps reveals more than the architect wished to share – how uncomfortable those benches might be, or the comfortable nature vs. awkwardness of bending over to get something out of certain cabinets.
“‘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.'”