When recently in Montreal, I had the pleasure to visit the Lemay offices – an architectural practice that works with a holistic approach, involving urban development as well as interior design. They had only just recently moved into their new premises in Montreal, not far from where their old offices used to be. The area is an ex industrial quarter with many – already or soon to be – converted warehouses to live and work in. So surprise, surprise – this was one as well!
One of Lemay’s declared values is sustainability, which also means to create new buildings that have a low energy impact when created. Therefore they re-use, if possible, a lot of already existing building material, if they convert a site. In their ex-warehouse office you can therefore find a lot of evidence for this approach, with re-gained wood being used for the reception area and rusty metal sheets that were turned into beautiful wall panels, just to mention a few. All in all a really sensitively developed site that pays tribute to its industrial heritage.
Here is what Leay says about its own philosophy:
Lemay not only applies sustainable development principles and values to every project it undertakes, but also extends them to every operational level of the company. To accomplish this, Lemay has developed a policy to integrate elements such as healthy environment, comfort, and energy efficiency into the creative process resulting in imaginative and innovative solutions that remain within budget allowances without compromising ecological responsibilities.
They practice their principles even in the microcosm of everyday office life: Their coffee stir devices are not the usual plastic sticks or made from wood, but simply pasta, i.e. minimal production energy costs as well as composting for disposal. Another wonderful thing is the fact that they have started to grow a vegetable garden in the outside bit of their office. Apparently it will still take some time until they will be able to prepare their first company dinner form these ingredients, but nevertheless I was thrilled by the consequent realisation of their values in all areas presented.