Inspired by Jules Verne’s adventure novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Montreal-based creative designer Jean de Lessard’s unique signature resonates through his recent Némeau project. With more than 25 years’ experience and lead designer of his own firm, de Lessard has transformed a variety of interiors, each marked with his signature style of eclecticism, durability and functionality. Like his client, Poissonnerie Némeau, de Lessard took a fresh look at the traditional fish market through his own atypical lens. “I approached this project from the vintage viewpoint of Jules Verne, but through a time line between today and tomorrow. It’s subtle, a little crazy, but fun!” he said.
Led by the breakdown of interpersonal relationships and physical boundaries to redefine the concept of interior space, the brand image of this 430sq.ft store located in Lévis, on the south shore of Québec City, is based on the same pioneering spirit. The fish market offers customers the chance to discover fish products in a new way by providing them with a unique promenade-shopping experience.
The concept of adding value to products through exploration is the main theme of a rather unusual design, which aims to be a journey of the senses around displays brimming with fresh products. “It facilitates interactions between staff and customers and adds a distinctive touch to the collective experience; shopping becomes enjoyable even in such a small space,” commented de Lessard.
In this dynamic and minimalist space, the combination of horizontal and vertical lines and transparency brings to mind the emptiness and fullness within the depths of the sea. The oblong-shaped, ethereal lighting, custom designed by Nemeau and manufactured by Lumen, appear as abstract vegetation suspended in space, balancing the denser shapes on the floor.
Ice-floe displays are randomly articulated around circulation axes, inviting gazes and a gourmand inspection of their content. These stylised cooling systems topped with asymmetric glass cases were custom designed to evoke jewellery boxes, holding the contents of the sea’s jewels. The sculptural glass ceiling, with a prismatic shape and tone illustrates its underwater magic, becoming a form representation of the refraction of natural light on water. In one fluid motion, the striking honeycomb ceiling becomes a sweeping tsunami of shelves. This is a simple, practical and ingenious way to maximise the store area surface. The white and grey ceramic tiling is reminiscent of the slats of hardwood of a boat’s deck, emphasising the nautical theme.
Through a delicate play of natural light, reflectivity and custom designed ethereal light pieces, de Lessard has created an otherworldly shopping experience. He uses light and colour to draw attention to the elegance, delicacy and magic of the nautical world and all its inhabitants, rendering the fish shop a pleasurable experience for all.
Pics: Francois Laliberté