Selected to create a contemporary retail interior that would draw traffic and appeal to a multitude of affluent consumers, Pappas Design Studio of Montreal was retained to redesign the Champlain Mall (aka Mail Champlain) in Brossard, Quebec. The mall is visited by more than 7 million customers annually and is owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge, a Montreal-based global property owner, manager, developer and investor focused on high-quality shopping centers.
Champlain Mall is home to 150 popular boutiques such as Jack & Jones, BCBG, Stylexchange, Forever 21, and Little Burgundy, mixed in with famous retailers such as The Bay, Sears, Sports Experts/Atmosphère, Archambault, H&M, Swarovski, and Zara. The mall sets itself apart with a style-ethic theme that ties together a number of the retailers with their customers’ growing concern to combine fashionable looks with responsible purchasing while supporting local charities and non-profit groups.
Under Pappas Design Studio’s domain was the complete renovation of the 111,000-sq.-ft. mall including the gutting, remodeling, and complete rebuild and renovation of all of its public spaces including the main mall areas, food ,and washrooms. According to Bess Pappas, company principal, “Our firm was assigned to revitalize the space and create a fresh new look current with today’s retail trends to compete with other centers in the region. We developed a clean, fashion-oriented look that is both contemporary and timeless with a black, white, and cream-colored scheme. Delivering a very neutral fashion boutique approach rather than a typical mall, we wanted to differentiate Mail Champlain from the competition. Our objective was to motivate fashion-oriented retailers to join the mall and add an upscale look of sophistication that retains current tenants and customers, but also attract bright new faces and new tenants.”
Pappas Design chose Yorkville, N.Y.-based Meyda Custom Lighting and its cadre of lighting designers, engineers, and artisans to create a spectacular lighting fixture that was inspired by another fixture Meyda had created for the Yves St. Laurent store in Miami.
According to Bess Pappas, “The new fixture, which evolved over eight months, evokes a timeless look that will endure for more than two decades. Designed to add large-scale fashion, sophistication, and volume to the expansive ceiling in the mall, this 8,000-pound fixture was engineered and crafted with a clean, elegant, two-tier design featuring 2,300 1″-square solid acrylic lighting rods suspended at heights ranging from 3 to 4 feet.” The oblong ceiling fixture spans 27.5 feet in length.
There were some design challenges to overcome, however, such as the high ceiling. Previously, the mall had very low lighting levels and limited skylights. It had a vaulted ceiling painted like the sky at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, with lighting that produced just 10-15 footcandles in many areas. “After demolishing the vaulted ceiling,” Pappas explains, “We added 15 skylights to bring in natural day lighting. The Meyda fixture is featured as the centerpiece of the center court where volume was needed for the big space. The two-tier luminaire is designed with a series of rectangular solid acrylic rods that deploys light at the base of the rods for ambient lighting. The fixture also punches up the colors of furniture and decorative accents inside the mall.”
Pappas Design Studio specified Cooper Lighting fixtures to illuminate the polished porcelain tile floor and reflect more light for a “glam feeling.” To that end, “We increased the footcandles to 45-60 and introduced new T8 fluorescent fixtures with 3500K color temperature to create cove lighting applications,” Pappas comments. “We used metal halide 3500K lighting based on pink cools with mid-neutral colors that were not too yellow, too white, or too cold. We deployed white accent slots with pot lights on tracks on the floor.”
Since the oversized centerpiece fixture weighs 4 tons, Pappas notes, “The remarkably designed and engineered fixture required structural engineers to oversee a special installation requiring proper bracing, plus recessing and bolting into the ceiling line to fill a void from the ceiling line to the roof. The installers had to work around large trusses with this large fixture, which has a total depth of 16.6 feet.” The chandelier was pre-assembled on the ground with all of the components easily identifiable.
With relamping and maintenance a concern, Meyda decided on long-life LEDs as the light source, consuming 1500 watts for a lumen output equivalent of 9000 watts of incandescent power and an estimated lifetime of 50,000 hours.
Additional design work was accomplished by Aqua Gallery, which installed its Nano Collection of hard cardboard and crunched fabric that evokes a mobile effect over the counter seating area at the bar in the food court. Electrical Engineering firm Orval Montreal assisted Pappas Design Studio with the lighting and supplied all of the details and lighting calculations that were needed. The architectural firm was Shapiro and Wolfe of Montreal.