Travel may be a precarious business at the moment, but this hasn’t stopped online travel agency FlightHub from inaugurating its bold new office expansion in Montreal. Conceived by local studio ACDF Architecture and occupying the entire sixth floor of an octagonal tower not far from the city’s Trudeau International Airport, the 1,189-square-metre-design — featuring bold bursts of colour and a striking mix of materials — accommodates not only the site’s challenging geometries, but the growing organization as well.
To remedy the awkward shape, the firm came up with a simple yet effective strategy: Transform the centre of the space into a circular common area, with the outer ring of workspaces (including open desking, private offices, conference spaces and breakout rooms) orbiting it. “The layout,” says architect and studio partner Joan Renaud, “provides a functional balance of flow and concentration that is conducive to the FlightHub culture.” (Scroll down to see the floor plan.)
Each of the four distinct enclaves within the ring are separated by a conference room, phone booth and storage space, all of which have direct access to the interactive hub.
The inner hub itself surrounds the service core of elevators and washrooms – wrapped in aluminum foam to reference the aerospace industry while also adding acoustic separation – and is divided into five zones articulated by a unique hue.
Cobalt blue ceilings, flooring, curtains and furnishings define the main reception while vibrant yellow is used to delineate the adjacent games room (fitted with a foosball table). Like in the lobby, opaque drapery lines the perimeter, allowing for various configurations as it slides along a near invisible track set into the dropped ceiling.
The nearby lounge is also a monochromatic study, this time in orange: Matching seats surround four long tables and are paired with a bold ceiling and floor trimmed in the ruddy shade.
To complete the communal zone, the designers placed an open kitchen at the northernmost quadrant. Bordering the administration area, the teal green space consists of a grand stainless steel island that looks to foster connection and communication between the four departments and a spartan galley kitchen that includes a small sink, microwaves and three refrigerators for staff. In addition to bringing employees together, the island joins similar metallic millwork pieces (the reception desk and games counter) to anchor the “flowing space.”
To ensure natural light could reach deep into the core from beyond the offices, ACDF clad the entire circular volume in double channel glass. Installed with a solar finish, the translucent louvres preserve a sense of privacy as well as maintain acoustic and visual separation.
From the vantage point of the workspace, the partition modulates the graphic spaces, creating a burst of intense colour along the wall. However, when viewed from the communal core, the material transforms the bustling office into a choreography of abstract form and motion.
Together, it’s an apt design for an organization constantly evolving, ready to take off (literally or figuratively) at any moment.
The local studio turns an awkward octagonal floor plate into a graphic workspace meant to bring the online travel agency together — even now.