Design of the NFB's new reception area in Montreal, Canada by Taktik design

The NFB’s new reception area in Montreal, Canada was deisgned by “Taktik design” studio.  The NFB’s desire was to offer an extremely flexible environment that will allow for a wide variety of programing possibilities both for the general public and those working in the film industry. The companuy’s history and the transition between its past, present, and future was the main inspiration for the project, while the past was represented by a blue colonial table, the present is illustrated by modular green vinyl seats and the future is evoked by a bright yellow table. Most of furniture are custom-designed from Taktik’s team and constructed from local craftsmen. 

The National Film Board, better known as the NFB, is undergoing a massive shift as it fits out its offices and studios inside Îlot Balmoral, the distinctively red flagship building located adjacent to the Quartier des Spectacles. The NFB is occupying five floors in the building, and the ground floor features a window that is open to the public to allow for a greater exchange with the local population and tourists.

The environment offers a third space concept that is ideal for both professionals and neophytes of the film industry, and which provides a greater understanding of the work being created by the NFB. Taktik Design was granted the challenging opportunity to imagine and create the project. Given that such a space is unprecedented in the history of the organization, this development is a bold and extensive undertaking in regards to its mandate and planning.

The NFB’s desire is to offer an extremely flexible environment that will allow for a wide variety of programing possibilities for its two target audiences: the general public and those working in the film industry. The goal will be to provide a transformable space that welcomes the gathering of people from different walks of life, where creativity is encouraged in an environment that will accommodate conferences and receptions for film openings, an exhibition area for NFB artifacts and temporary installations, a media library, a viewing room for discovering the NFB’s film content, a “real time” broadcasting studio featuring the work of film creators in a variety of studios across Canada, a learning environment for diverse school groups of varying ages, and a space for simply wandering, exchanging, and discovering.

The biggest challenge in this endeavour was to define the identity of the institution to create a narrative around. A unique place where visitors could discover the rich and singular universe of the NFB, a universe that has been in development for many years, was the mandate at hand. Specific attention was paid to the NFB’s history and the transition between its past, present, and future.

Taktik conceived and developed a colourful, eclectic environment that corresponds to the vast artistic spectrum of the organization, while also achieving a welcoming and modular space. The uniquely bold and striking nature of the red ceiling served as the centerpiece in the creation of the colour scheme, as well as in the selection of other materials, colours, and textures for establishing balance in such a grandiose space. Accordingly, the furniture is either primary coloured or set in neutral, bold tones.

In order to respect the LEED value of the building, the furniture was either carefully selected or locally sourced and made with environmentally-friendly, recycled materials.

The custom-made furniture, entirely conceived by Taktik Design, and built by Montreal-based craftspeople, is a nod to the history and legacy of the NFB. The past is represented by a blue colonial table, drawing reference to traditional Canadian-style furniture. Surrounding it are replicas of the blue and white McLaren chair, made famous in the Oscar-winning film ‘Once Upon a Chair’. The present is illustrated by modular green vinyl seats whose colour is emblematic of the original logo of the institution. Depending on the configuration of the seats, either an accurate or a distorted representation of the logo is formed. The future is evoked by a bright yellow table in welded aluminum that reinterprets the NFB’s iconic human figure logo using only the leg portion of the design. Simple furniture pieces, including high tables, logs on wheels, and detachable sofas, also enhance the space. The aluminum tube structures allow for the hanging of screens, artifacts, listening stations, and works of art, permitting visitors to discover and fully immerse themselves in the world of the NFB.

In addition to being modular, the space provides various ergonomic possibilities for a wide range of people. Given that, it’s possible to work within the space with ease, or to simply discover the wonders of the NFB at one’s own pace.

This new development in the heart of the Quartiers des Spectacles, as part of the creators’ path, permits visitors to contemplate Montreal’s cultural scene by offering a resting point in the midst of a bubbling, vibrant neighbourhood, while deepening one’s knowledge of Canada’s cinematic and artistic culture.

Credits & Details

Project: NFB’s new reception area
Design: Taktik design
Category: Interior design 
Location: Montréal, Québec
Project end date: 2020
Area: 2430 sq. ft
Client: National Film Board
Designer/Project manager: Andrée-Ann Daniels
Collaborator: Nicola Tardif-Bourdages
Photograph: Raphaël Thibodeau

About Taktik design

Taktik design is a Montreal-based company that is close to people and attentive to its customers and their needs. The understanding of places and their functionalities is at the heart of their approach and concepts. Comprising a creative and passionate team, Taktik design constantly innovates to improve the use of spaces, and to create unique worlds.

For Taktik, a successful space cannot be summed up by its aesthetics alone, but also in its ability to create a link between its users and the created environment.