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Cool Interiors by Igloo Design

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Innovative, aesthetic materials and techniques, custom furniture alongside 20th century iconic pieces, a large, open area with a few glassed-in islands: the Groupe Financier BBA's new Montreal offices, signed Igloo Design, are not how one would imagine the offices of this type of firm.

Specializing in both commercial and residential projects, Igloo was founded in 2004, by Anna Abbruzzo and Alain Courchesne, after they won the jury's Grand Prize at the Commerce Design Montréal competition for the interior design of Les gourmets pressés bistro. Another of their achievements is the Blume florist shop on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, which was completed in 2006.

The mandate that BBA gave Anna Abbruzzo and Alain Courchesne was not that simple. Starting with a single concrete cube, they had to create a space that was stylish and contemporary, as well as conducive to employee interaction, where cocktails or less formal happy hours could be held, and where clients could be received in the privacy essential to conducting financial transactions.

The concrete walls were covered in panels for better acoustics, while the flooring chosen was Xilo tiles separated by thin aluminium banding. These very smooth ceramic tiles can resemble wood or stone depending on the selected finish and, according to the designer, "arouse the curiosity of many clients who feel the need to touch them and find out what they are".

In the middle of the space are a lunch counter and an espresso bar. All the elements were custom-made and, in keeping with the rest, feature aluminium and sleek, smooth surfaces.

Awaiting visitors at the front desk are Le Corbusier's famous LC2 chairs reintroduced by Cassina. In the conference room and individual offices, the chairs are by Italian firm Diemme and all lighting is signed Artemide and Eurêka Lighting.