Nautical design inspiration for a Canadian chalet

CABIN A - Chamonix, Mont-Blanc, France

Canadian architect Olivier Bourgeois was inspired by nautical design when creating the recently finished Cabin A dwelling. In collaboration with graphic designers from Criterium Graphic Artists, they were able to utilize ICS signal technology to structure the building’s overall geometry and nautical themes throughout.

Located in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, along the St. Lawrence River, this private residence features a pitched roof; a visual reference of sails facing the wind, and through its sloping wings, the legs of the letter ‘A’ are created. From these details alone, we can see how nautical technology and design made its way into the floor-plan. Meanwhile, a large wooden terrace, a major feature of the house, gives the feeling of being on the water, evoking the look of an upper deck of a ship.

From above, the home looms over a hillside with its A-shaped roof. From outside, it is a subtle structure that blends into the surrounding woods with its wooden paneling. Inside, comfort and efficiency work simultaneously to create the feeling of a cozy winter retreat.

A standout feature of this home, is the wood paneling on the walls and ceilings of the shared living area, creating a cohesive look without compromising natural light. The living space, dining space, and complete kitchen facilities (which extend outside) are located on the upper deck and are complimented with cathedral high ceilings and a gangway entrance. A second lower level includes three bedrooms and an open dorm for children, with a protected playroom on the upper level for hidden fun.

Project Data

Location: Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Charlevoix, Québec
Client: Cabines St-Laurent
Architects: Bourgeois / Lechasseur architectes
Graphic Artists: Criterium
Design Team: Olivier Bourgeois, Régis Lechasseur, Alexandre Côte, Valérie Gauthier, Isabelle Auclair, Maxime Rousseau
General Contractor: Construction Urbanext
Photographer: Maxime Brouillet

The light-colored birch panels are contrasted dynamically by the dark hues of the metal roofing material that outlines the windows, door frames and light fixtures. From the outside, the deep color of the Russian plywood makes a contrast of its own, with the inviting shade of the inner paneling, providing shelter from the brutal climate.

The metal contrast creates focal points for your eyes, willing you to look on into the vistas that form a backdrop for this living space. From a design perspective, attempting to represent nautical inspiration in a home runs the risk of feeling out of place. In this case however, the visual references never stray for the sleek and contemporary overall design, such as the skipper’s ladder that leads to the private playroom.

This design message can be found in the roof, in the very structure that holds up this building. The ‘A’ is a smart correlation to the ‘A’ of the nautical alphabet, which all pilots know. It is a subliminal ode, the Alpha ‘A’ (meaning ‘diver’s down’) is a lasting signal that offers solace and continuous room to explore.

Cabin A is currently being used for tourist accommodation and can accommodate up to 12 people.

Bourgeois / Lechasseur Architectes

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