The family business of Desharnais Pneus et Mécanique has been a cornerstone of the Quebec region for over 70 years. Its main location occupies more than 85,000 sq.ft., making it the largest service center of its kind in Quebec. When embarking on a $4 million renovation, the goal was to not only stand out from the competition but create a space that truly reflected the company’s corporate identity. Inside and out, the architectural features are warm and welcoming, descriptions not traditionally associated with a visit to a tire and car repair shop!
“We wanted to transform what is often a gloomy customer encounter – waiting for a tire change or car repair – into a positive experience that the client can actually look forward to,” explained Nathalie Perron, president of Perron Design, and one of the principals on the project. “It allows the customer to take some time for themselves, whether that means catching up on some work or even relaxing quietly.”
This experience includes a knowledge center on car mechanics, and interactive “tire wall” to guide a client through a tire purchase, a bistro, a modern and comfortable waiting area with free Wi-fi, and even a games room for children.
Creating the right atmosphere through lighting was a key factor in the project’s success. Lumisolution, a Quebec-based lighting specialist, was brought in to consult on the project. Specific lighting zones were identified to control the ambiance of the waiting areas, café and customer service desks. In all cases, lighting was chosen not only for aesthetics but ease of maintenance and energy savings.
Eureka Lighting’s appropriately-named Moto luminaire was selected for the area above the café’s counter and work space. Moto’s black finish and unique shape - round yet angular - mimics a tire and blends whimsically with its surroundings. The exterior of each fixture features a pattern of 24 bent “blades” which eliminates glare while allowing light to filter between the blades. And the interior contains a smooth acrylic diffuser which provides soft, diffused light to the area below. The luminaires are suspended from the ceiling loosely framed by warm, wooden design elements.
“The aesthetics of the luminaire - the shape and its resemblance to a tire - and performance are what initially drew us to the Moto fixture,” said Annick Tremblay, lighting designer and project manager at Lumisolution.
Moto’s custom LED light engine will be energy efficient for the shop and require minimal maintenance.
The lighting, architectural touches and overall design contribute to a professional yet warm customer space, and it’s a project that has generated a lot of interest in the local community.
“This is a place that everyone is talking about,” said Perron. “We were lucky to work with a client that had an open mind and gave us carte blanche to maximize the customer space.”
Desharnais Pneus et Mécanique
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Designer: Perron Design
Lighting Design: Lumisolution
Renovation completed: April 2017
Photography: Diane Blanchard