A former bank in a 1928 neoclassical skyscraper in Old Montreal has found new life as a collective office and café for the young tech company Crew. Arch­itect Henri Cleinge has created an elegant work­place through the skillful integration of the original architectural elements with a rich new material palette, adding contemporary flair to a historic space.

Crew wanted a casual, flexible environment with a variety of work spaces, both private and public. Cleinge, whose work embraces simple forms and the use of raw materials, designed a layered space that comprises a public café, conference rooms and desks for the Crew team, and rentable “V.I.P.” desks and “quiet bunks” for freelancers.

One challenge was to create distinct areas that would also encourage interaction among all users. To accomplish this, the architect placed glazed conference rooms behind existing teller booths, using these historic cubicles as transparent buffer zones between the café and Crew’s private work area. The “quiet bunks” lining the café on two sides, offering seclusion for up to four people, also separate the V.I.P. desks on the perimeter from the space open to the general public at the center.

The design team carefully selected materials and finishes to inject a modern yet subdued feel into the 12,000-square-foot café and offices. “The question was, what materials could we bring in that would have a dialogue with the historic architecture? We didn’t want to do anything phony—we wanted it to blend in,” says the architect. Echoing brass elements from the ornate suspended light fixtures and teller stands, Cleinge opted for the use of brass-plated steel throughout, most prominently to clad the conference rooms and work booths. The architect installed a white oak floor in the sequestered zone behind the former teller stands, a choice that complements the golden tinge of the original materials while providing noise control. To balance the lighting, the design team replaced incandescent bulbs with warm LEDs in chandeliers, and installed custom fixtures over the café, and small, discreet downlights in conference rooms and bunks.

The resulting intervention, which Cleinge likens to “a temporary installation,” nods to the past while embracing tenets of 21st-­century work life: community, collaboration, and creativity.



Henri Cleinge
165 Beaumont Avenue
Montreal Quebec
H2S 1J2
fax:  514 509-4183


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Henri Cleinge, architect
Paulette Taillefer, architect



Pageau Morel et associés inc. (mechanical and electrical)



Checknorm, Code Consultant


General contractor:

Gestion George Coulombe



Adrien Williams 514-802-5759 | info@adrienwilliams.com 




Interior Glazing System: Dorma hardware; Cr Laurence hardware
Subcontractor: Techni-verre


Locksets: GBI -glass door lockset


Canaropa- for glass doors
Dorma- for glass doors

Pulls: CR Laurence- for glass doors

Security devices: Protelcom: electromagnetic hardware subcontractor for glass doors

Interior Finishes

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Kastella-Custom café counter and retail furniture

Custom built-in furniture for kichen
Atelier B- custom concrete panels integrated to cabinetry

Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore

Wall coverings: CGC-gypsum board

Paneling: Custom brass plated steel as supplied and installed by Linea P

Plastic laminate: Formica

Resilient flooring: wood flooring in white oak


Chairs: Herman Miller- seating
Product: Sayl chairs

Tables: De Gaspé- custom tables for café, conference rooms, and desks

Upholstery: Linea P


Interior ambient lighting: Sistemalux-Interior LED lighting

Downlights: Sistemalux-Interior LED lighting
Authentik:  Custom light fixtures above café counter as designed by Henri Cleinge

Dimming system or other lighting controls: Lew Electric-specialty outlets: 
Lutron:  light switches
Leviton:  light switches


Franke: café sinks

Other Products

Coffee equipment:

La Marzocco,-Espresso maker;
Wilbur Curtis-brewers;
True- fridges;
Frigidaire- wall oven;
Scotsman- ice machine;