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Do not play with the food: a brightly coloured apartment in Montreal by Jean Verille Architects.

Coloued plan

It was only a week ago that I was congratulating Dietmar Feichtinger Architects for the elegant way that its tasteful school transcended the recent tendency to brightly colour school buildings as a substitute for their thoughtful design. I argued that the gratuitous use of colour can be seen as a way to skimp on design, eventually reducing adult expectations for the quality of the future public realm.

Yet here today is a private apartment in downtown Montreal designed by Jean Verille Architects, whose striking feature is that it uses colour as a way of paying tribute to creativity itself. Such a proposition was presumably endorsed by the client who is an artist / collector / designer of contemporary products.

Is this apartment the inevitable consequence of a childhood education endured in a badly designed but brightly coloured school?

Of course not! This apartment is beautifully and carefully designed and is capable of making its own comments on the wider world. But what does it say?

The apartment appears to be inserted into an old warehouse, or at least the rough concrete structure is revealed as a receptacle for this fiesta of colour. What ever else goes on, the occupant cannot escape the fact that they are dwelling in a dreamland, a pocket within a grey tough reality, expressed as a bunker. The dreamland, an expression of what the world could be like if the client/ architect/occupant /dreamer, was the government. But this is not just a fantasy space. The bunker shows clearly that although the outside world is hard, and rough, it is interestingly textured.

Then there is a self critique to the riot of colour. This is manifest in the white, kitchen and sitting area. This space is clearly a respite from relentless assault on the senses produced by the bright colour, and appears to be saying: 'This is where we come to take a break from the creative tribute in prismatic colour. It is where we create, consume and discuss our food. It is where we relax from creativity in a calm, simple space where whimsy is excluded in favour of quiet reflection.'

Consider these musings as a little fun like the colour itself. But you are invited to ponder your own reaction to this interesting apartment.

door detail


looking beyond the kitchen

A white kitchen

lounge area

dining area

view through apartment

coloured chairs

contact sheet

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