The new headquarters of Canadian software company Lightspeed have gained recognition around the world for the way old elements – such as the steel columns and wooden beams of the old hotel and station buildings – are combined with the new, in a clean white open space with plenty of hidden surprises.
Designers ACDF Architecture have scattered hidden gems throughout the new premises, such as the red geometric shapes on the reception desk, which are linked with a red pattern that extends on to the floor and wall.
Only when viewed from the correct angle do the individual red components line up – to reveal the Lightspeed logo as a two-dimensional image superimposed on to the three-dimensional constituent parts.
The pods in the reception area, each shaped like a small house, also look monochrome from the outside, but inside the privacy booths have a brightly coloured felt lining, another splash of vibrancy in the otherwise minimalist premises.
And it is this minimalism that allows the period features to sit almost unnoticed like sentinels of the past, subtly linking the building’s former lives as a station and a hotel with its very modern-day use as a software company’s headquarters.
The steel columns – painted black against the white background of the open-plan space – also provide a visual link from ground level to the ceiling, where the beams, ducts and other fixtures are also painted a uniform black.
In their description of the award-winning renovation, ACDF Architecture say: “Commissioned to design the new offices, [we] proposed a minimalist intervention that would leave untouched the existing brick walls as well as the exposed wood structure and its metal components.”
This meant embracing the gutted buildings and inviting their existing interiors into the finished project, with sculptural furniture and mural art in a contemporary style to contrast against these more historical elements.