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Driving It Home

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Serving as an apartment, a workshop and an exhibit gallery, the loft that Rémi Bédard, owner of Encadrex, had built on the roof of the building that houses his business was conceived from the same drive with which Encadrex built its reputation: a taste for local and custom-made craftsmanship as well as quality materials.

The architects at Smith Vigeant Architectes decided to deal directly with certain artisans that the framing company calls upon, particularly for the glass in the shower stall, the wooden floor and the finishing on the walls. Rémi Bédard also sought out Quebec artists and designers that he holds in high regard: the bed, the table and chairs are from Éric de Man, the sculptures are the artistry of Laurent Viens, and the glasswork was created by glazier Jean-Pierre Contant.

Stéphan Vigeant and Daniel Smith have created a space where every object and structural element is designed like an installation. Gliding partitions can close off rooms to create intimate nooks. The glass shower, along with its skylight, performs like a Chinese lantern filling the space with a soft natural light, and the windows are made in such a way that when seated at the table or on a sofa, the neighbouring roofs are blocked from view and give way to the sky and Mount Royal. 

Although not their sole concerns, sustainable development and environmental consideration are naturally incorporated into Smith Vigeant's work. The windows cover only 38% of the total surface, but the space uses passive solar energy: the light from the sun penetrates the windows into the rooms and is absorbed by the walls, the floors and the furniture, which in turn all release heat that warms the air. To maximize heat retention and distribution, the architects utilised a variety of woods such as cherry, pine, hemlock, mahogany and maple.

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