Most of us are not lucky enough to work in a historical, grandiose space. The employees of CREW Collective, however, do have that luxury. Their office is in the building of the Royal Bank of Canada. 

Henri Cleinge and Paulette Taillefer were assigned by CREW Collective to the not-so-easy task of designing an office and a coffee shop in an nearly hundred year-old building. The two interior designers used the bank, built in 1926 in Montreal, as the scenery: they simply placed the office furnishing into the already existing, imposing space. They did the same with the coffee shop next to the office, and through this they created a really unique interior, not just a trite contrast between old and modern interior design elements.

The huge, 1100 sqm part of the building is home to the office and the coffee shop, and is rich in theatrical architectural solutions coming from the age in which it was built. The tall columns end in large arches, long and wide staircases run underneath a 15 meter-high ceiling, covered with coffered panels and full of heavy chandeliers. Wood and marble are the dominant materials. In their color choices, the designers went with the luxurious warm brown and gold.


The new furnishings match the classic in mood, but in style and usage of material, they also communicate the changes in the functionality and the lifestyle changes of the building since 1926. The minimalistic furniture, the simple, geometrical lights, and those glassdoor steel boxes that the offices were placed into match the style of the twenties perfectly, while remaining cohesive in a modern setting.

The long countertop of the coffee shop, with its equally large, decorative espresso machine, and the metal rods that hold the lamps above it are also contemporary, but not too much that it seems one note. The tables, chairs and couches placed around the counter host the guests of the coffee shop in total comfort, and provide an office space for freelancers.

Photo credits: Crew Collective