St-Denis Thompson

Industrial-era lighting design complements historic office architecture

Montreal contractor St-Denis Thompson specializes in building restoration. So, it was no coincidence that it moved its head office to a historic 1908 building on the banks of the Lachine Canal.

St-Denis Thompson hired local interior design firm Folio Design to create new offices with a distinct identity, integrating the contractor's new branding while providing a unique work environment for its employees. Folio Design embraced the space's industrial roots with its period wood floors, high exposed ceilings, and brick walls marked with history. Open-plan workstations, collaborative areas, and closed offices encompass 13,670 sq. ft. over two floors; a new staircase in the reception area creates openness between the levels.

“The lighting had to integrate with the industrial-era design and architectural elements, but with a strong and bold visual presence,” said Julie Laforêt, associate & vice-president at Folio Design.

Luminaires from Eureka Lighting are featured throughout the new space. The design team selected Verner fixtures for the main corridor that leads employees into open-plan workstations. The 23" diameter luminaires, each with an elegant black shade and white diffuser, provide ample illumination while distinguishing the main corridors from the other open areas. Smaller 14” diameter versions are suspended over collaboration “coves” that open onto the main hallway, effectively carrying the lighting design intent.

Verner features a powerful light engine. Softened by a polymer diffusion dome, it creates efficient illumination that is gentle on the eyes.

“We chose Verner for these spaces because of its high-efficiency illumination, but also because its minimalist aesthetic is reminiscent of an industrial dome shape,” Laforêt said.

One of the overall design objectives was to create environments that would bring people together. The most significant gathering space is the bistro, featuring a full kitchen, a large central island, and pockets of seating and banquettes. Eureka's distinctive Quadrant acoustic luminaires are suspended at varying heights across the expansive industrial ceiling. Laforêt mixed and matched 47” high luminaires in charcoal felt and 23” high versions in silver gray; a discreet spherical diffuser provides ambient illumination in the bistro area. Ten 35" unlit Quadrant fixtures in charcoal are also interspersed among the lit pendants.

Against the all-white ceiling, the pendants create a whimsical aesthetic: it’s a space that invites people to gather. But the lit and unlit Quadrant fixtures also contribute to acoustic comfort in the open space. Each shade is comprised of two rigid interlocked sound absorbing panels of synthetic felt manufactured with recycled and recyclable polyethylene (PET) fibers.

Three additional Quadrant pendants – 23” in diameter - are suspended over the main reception desk. The diffusor within provides comfortable illumination down to the desk, and the felt panels help to manage noise in the open space.

“Quadrant is reminiscent of the bulb/light source effect of modest industrial lighting design, but revisited in a bold and functional way,” said Laforêt.

Because the two floors benefit from substantial natural light, all Eureka luminaires have dimming capability. Employees working various shifts can control the lighting level throughout the day and evening to manage their comfort and well-being.

"Your eyes are drawn to the unique Eureka fixtures as you walk through the St-Denis Thompson office," Laforêt said. “They contribute to the aesthetic and fluidity of the space. Quadrant's design and acoustic effects have been particularly well-received by the employees."


Project Name: St-Denis Thompson

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Project completion: 2022

Interior Design: Folio Design

Eureka Agent:  edp inc.

Photographer: Yanick Lesperance