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    Photo credit: Vincent Brillant

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Montreal’s Le Marie-Victorin cafeteria transformed

Georgina Johnston
16 Jan 2020

Cégep Marie-Victorin is a public institution located in Montreal supporting interior design and art education

In addition to teaching these disciplines, during the summer of 2019, the establishment has managed to carry out the major redevelopment of its common areas and few departments in collaboration with members of the departments of interior design, graphic design and visual arts, creating a stimulating living space and an environment conducive to educational success. A bold initiative that highlights the talent of the Cégep community and reflects an institutional culture characterised by innovation, creativity and a human approach.

Built in 1965, this structure bears an impressive ceiling covering the cafeteria. The unique shape of the old chapel, which became a cafeteria in 1981, inspired innovative lighting. It deftly emphasises the architectural angles of the time. Retaining this architecture while infusing it with the style of the 2020s was the challenge. 

The café and service area fuse this singular shape. The ceiling and triangular windows set the tone for a radiant combination of geometry and lights. A roundabout flow creates a clear dialogue between contours and lighting. The perimeter is surrounded by round tables in perfect harmony with the ceiling and counters, and textured glass walls integrate into this space. The dynamics of the layout orchestrate a symbiosis with the outside world. Seats of varying heights and benches amid vegetation evoke an organic atmosphere, which is revealed thanks to the visuals and the floral structure of the central lighting. 

The visual planning plays fully to the particular shape of the building. The flooring is a contemplation of concentric circles with shades of gray. The skillful marriage of surfaces, shapes and lights manages to make the unique geometry of the cafeteria warm. Thus, a shift emerges from the ethereal space of this old chapel. 

Relevant floral motifs pay tribute to Brother Marie-Victorin, a great botanist who gave his name to the Cégep. These surfaces are decorated with flowers which hide several acoustic panels. In the food court, a quartz counter traces its path through ceramic and metal. 

This airy and organic set generates an excellent environment for exchange and communication. The student population benefits from a place to meet and talk.

Simple and modern, a clean logo made of the letters MV is displayed in white on black. It evokes the geometry of the place and emphasizes its unifying form. 

The perfect combination of the skills of the interior and graphic design experts allows these projects to be carried out in harmony with the values of Cégep Marie-Victorin. Being also employed by Cégep Marie-Victorin, the designers’ involvement and commitment is palpable throughout the projects. 

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