Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Maison Birks boutiques in Montreal, Canada by Sid Lee Architecture
December 22nd, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Sid Lee Architecture
MaisonBirks, Canada’s leading jeweller founded in Montreal in 1879, , mandated Sid Lee Architecture to revisit its visual identity, redefine its boutique experience, which had until then remained traditional, and develop the first single-brand boutique, where only Maison Birks’ creations would be offered. Two new boutiques were built simultaneously in Quebec (Quartier DIX30) and in Ontario (Mapleview), and were officially opened for business in September 2013.
The starting point of the project was the iconic little blue box”, explained Martin Leblanc, architect and partner at Sid Lee Architecture. “When held at an angle, the box becomes a kaleidoscope. When you look through it, you’re transported inside the brand’s universe. Maison Birks considers that our natural environment constitutes a jeweller’s raw material, inspiration and tools. The kaleidoscope, as well as its projection, the diamond, therefore became the platform from which Maison Birks’ contemporary expression developed itself, and which establishes its new promise: Bring life to the elements.
In line with this new identity, the boutique experience was completely reviewed, with three strategic aims in mind: the elements, the meeting, and the experience. These three key words are reflected in stores, first in the façade, made up of an imposing metallic white curtainwhich create a textured play of light inside the boutique during the day and on the street in the evening, similar to the lighting effect at the bottom of an ocean, or to daylight coming through the leaves of a tree.
As for the experience, the traditional’’behind-the-counter’’ sale method ` was reviewed in order to elicit a more personal experience.The experience as a whole needed to convey accessibility, warmth and prestige. The process is therefore structured around the different collections, and around one central element delineated by a red diamond on the floor and a chandelier composed of lenticular lenses, similar to those used to examine diamonds.
It was a thrilling experience to work on a new concept for the Maison Birks brand, a truly iconic Canadian company”, said Martin Leblanc. Our team worked on an exciting design that is sure to impress and surprise consumers. We were given the challenge to reinvent and refresh the value proposition of the traditional jewellery store, and we believe the finished product offers exactly that”, he concluded.
About Maison Birks
Maison Birks is part of Birks Group inc., is a leading retailer and owner of 53 prestige jewellery stores in Canada and the United States. The company runs 30 Birks stores located in most of Canada’s major urban areas, 20 Mayors stores in Florida and Georgia, two Brinkhaus stores in Calgary and Vancouver, and one Rolex store in Orlando. Founded in 1879, Maison Birks has, over the years, become Canada’s number one retailer, designer and manufacturer of high-end jewellery, watches, sterling and silver plated silverware as well as gifts.
About Sid Lee Architecture
Sid Lee Architecture is an architecture firm based in Montréal (Canada), with satellite offices in Amsterdam (Netherlands), Paris (France), and New York. Founded in 2009 through the integration of the architecture firm Nomade (founded in 1999), Sid Lee Architecture is the fruit of the combined talents and abilities of Jean Pelland and Martin Leblanc, two architects and urban designers, and Sid Lee, a world-renowned marketing firm.
Offering an expanded vision of the project, Sid Lee Architecture starts with the creation process, accompanies the client throughout, and delivers the final product, always imagining innovative concepts and maximizing the profits of an investment. Guided by a creative and integrated approach, the firm dispenses five main services: pre-conceptual studies, architecture, urban design, interior architecture, as well as architectural strategy and communication, thanks to Sid Lee’s creative artisans and strategists. Sid Lee Architecture’s heterogeneous portfolio comprises projects of varying scale in the following categories: commercial, corporate, cultural, recreational, and residential, as well as urban design, hospitals, public and institutional spaces, and mixed usage.
The atelier’s team is composed of 25 employees from varying fields such as architecture, urbanism, interior architecture, environmental design, graphic design, communication, strategy, and industrial design. Together, these disciplines push the traditional limits of architecture for each project.
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