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Azure Magazine November December 2022 Cover: The Residential Interiors Issue

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The Lafond Desjardins building from the exterior at dusk showing the bright entry pavilion in the foreground

“We are not afraid to work in fields that are not trendy or generally considered amenable to refined projects. Quite the contrary, in fact,” says ACDF Architecture co-founder Maxime-Alexis Frappier. For the Montreal-based designer, it’s an ethos that’s exemplified by the newly completed Lafond Desjardins laboratory in the Quebec town of Laval — a light industrial facility for manufacturing custom dental implants. And fortunately, the result is plenty refined.

A view of the ground floor consultation spaces from the exterior

Designed for a company that prides itself on combining bespoke attention to detail with high-end manufacturing, the building features an understated, efficient design that’s elevated by graceful proportions and a welcoming public presence. Minimalist, rectilinear volumes of dark, textured brick are paired with a pleasantly transparent glass entrance lobby — and light-filled yet private workspaces — to create a subtle local landmark.

Context view of the exterior, showing the extruded, irregular facade and second-storey windows

Situated on a prominent boulevard within a busy industrial area of Laval, the Lafond Desjardins laboratory is immediately distinguished by its irregular form. A playful yet practical variation on typically boxy warehouses and manufacturing buildings, the building is contoured to balance privacy and natural light for employees — with second-floor fenestration set back behind the main facade — and to discretely house complex mechanical facilities.

Interior view of staff lunch and lounge area

Inside, the workstations and communal spaces — including a tranquil kitchen and lounge — feature simple, sanitary finishes and ample natural light. Blond wood accents are a soothing, organic complement to the industrial interior.

Interior view of ground floor consultation spaces

For Lafond Desjardins, creating an inviting space was paramount, both for workplace wellness and for the patients that occasionally visit the laboratory for consultations. Meanwhile, the generously oversized lobby and entrance foyer is also designed to host occasional industry gatherings, where the company’s clients (dentists and orthodontists) can enjoy educational events and professional training on new fabrication techniques in a comfortable setting.

Interior view of ground floor workspace, which lets out onto floor-to-ceiling windows

For a primarily industrial facility, it’s an uncommonly warm and engaging space. For ACDF, it’s also representative of a design philosophy. “Everyone deserves a day-to-day life elevated by design,” says Frappier. ‘We believe architects must absolutely be more involved in the industrial sector by creating projects that make a positive contribution to the urban landscape. They should also benefit the workers by providing more attractive, engaging and productive workspaces. Architecture can help alleviate the current labour shortage, and that’s what we committed to from the start of the Lafond Desjardins project.”

close-up view of workspaces in the Lafond Desjardins lab
ACDF’s Dental Laboratory Brings Elegance to an Industrial Setting

In Quebec, the Lafond Desjardins hub is a case study in creating a hospitable and welcoming commercial workplace.

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