in its third year of operations, montreal-based freelance design and web developer marketplace crew made a bold move, and opened a new venue in downtown montreal. and not just any venue, but on the former premises of the royal bank of canada tower. a neoclassical builing from the mid-1920s, it's replete with soaring vaulted ceilings, chandeliers, intricate tiling and inlay marble flooring. the structure had been empty for almost six years, and was in need of an audacious new occupant to bring it back to life. crew enlisted local architect henri cleinge to redevelop the 12,000 sq.ft. [1,115 sqm.] space, and obviously it was done with respect of the building's original architectural features.
interestingly, the crew collective & café as it's now called, has become a hybrid space that's not only home to a new co-working space, but also the company's head office, and last but not least, a café section accessible for the public. as said, the original decor has been retained, while sleek modern elements have been inserted, thereby creating a compelling contrast. the bank's deposit-slip counters are incorporated into an elongated bar, while custom light fixtures above the counter adds a distinctly modern touch. the bank teller counters now divide the café area shop from the members-only co-working space and the crew head office.
the new design integrates brass plated steel throughout, fixed to boxy minimal enclosures that serve a co-woriking and meeting rooms, form both a dialogue and a contrast with the existing yet ornate brass elements. although each section is clearly designated, they very much form a visually cohesive space. all tables, chairs and bar stools have been sourced from de gaspé, a design firm from montreal. crew collective & café's menu lists a wide range of espresso and coffee options, healthy snacks and fruit and yoghurt mixes, and we totally see the place becoming the new downtown hub for digital creatives location: 360 rue st.-jacques [downtown].
© henri cleinge / photography: adrien williams