At Ubisoft,
 a high-energy environment presents varied scenarios for the creative staff.

By Vilma Barr

Photography by Jonathan Roberts

Spending extended hours at the workplace has become an accepted way of life for many involved with artistic pursuits. This is true for the dedicated employees of Ubisoft, a video game creator based in Québec City, Canada. The firm Coarchitecture kept this in mind when designing the client’s expanded offices to house the 400 artists, technicians, production, and support personnel who electronically propel the development and production of such intellectual challenges as Might & Magic—Dual of Champions, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Planning for Ubisoft’s 4,800-sq.-ft. offices on Boulevard Charest East was based on the technical attributes of the games themselves and the interactive processes in which the company’s employees are engaged to integrate the visuals with the storyline. The spaces also had to project an atmosphere that was not corporately hard-edged. Rather, function was to be thoughtfully and attractively interwoven with the spatial layout, furnishings, and lighting.

LumiGroup, Québec’s largest lighting agency, served as the lighting consultant and product supplier for the project. The illumination of the new spaces was established as a differentiating factor that would give the various areas their own personality and identification. The architects and lighting consultants avoided repetition of undifferentiated design themes; instead, each workspace identifies with the activities that take place within the designated spaces.

THE STUDIO’S SPACE IS ARTICULATED AROUND AN ELECTRIC BLUE STAIRCASE IN THE BUILDING’S CENTER.

Ubisoft team members collaborated with architects from Coarchitecture, led by project manager Francois Cantin, and LumiGroup, represented by Nicholas Brassard. It was decided that a casual urban atmosphere would be a unifying interior design theme that would give a nod to Québec’s historical reputation as a center for freedom of expression and of mutual support.

“We combined with Ubisoft to function as a unified team to determine a common goal we could achieve together,” says architect Cantin.

Brassard concurs, “The lighting design had to adapt to a multitude of spaces, each communicating a different message in a special atmosphere.”

The office’s dominant dimensional feature is its electric blue open tread staircase. In addition to transporting the staff between floors, it encourages impromptu meetings and informal information exchanges.

“The communication and interconnection between the diverse teams and among individual staff members was the priority in defining the overall spatial organization,” Cantin explains.

LumiGroup’s solutions were developed to adapt to the input resulting from decisions made by the combined user/architect collaborative. Traffic areas and public spaces are illuminated by industrial-style fixtures by Lightheaded and Viscor Lighting.

In smaller meeting spaces and the dining room, the selection of fixtures is more residential in scale and profile. The total lighting budget for the office, production, and support spaces was $4 million.

Lighting in the Industrial-style café is a combination from Absolux, Lightheaded, and Solavanti.

Seasonal Inspiration

The winter and summer seasons influenced the décor of several multi-purpose rooms. The Summer Room features a swing with upward-facing lighting such as Osram’s Linear Light Flex and Absolux’s Keiko wall sconce, which resembles an outdoor torch. In the Winter Room, a starry ceiling is created with individual fixtures by Absolux AX-4803 arranged at various heights.

In a Ubisoft reference to Québec’s early settlements, “The Hut in a Tree” is paneled in wood. The designers installed Droog Lights by Castor Design, which are operated similar to the methodology of how electric guitar sounds are produced. Each light is turned on by pressing a switch like a guitar stomp box and rubber 12-inch lights plug into a power box activating guitar jacks that are placed wherever the user wants, using metal pucks and magnets.

The canary yellow-painted Post-it™ Room encourages out-of-the-box brainstorming sessions. Ideas jotted on Post-it™ notes are adhered to the surrounding walls for joint evaluation. Overhead is the mirrored ceiling and illumination by fluorescent fixtures.

Open-space work platforms are the locations where program developers build and test their games. Many Obisoft work teams are mobile, with some requiring a significant amount of light and others needing a reduced amount. For flexibility, the lighting for these areas can be controlled by switches. In addition, LumiGroup installed bidirectional luminaires to bring light downward, upward, and in combination.

Ubisoft’s investment in its working environment continues to inspire its talented work force and its growth in the international electronic game market.

PROJECT AT-A-GLANCE

Client: Ubisoft
Location: Québec City, Canada
Architect: Coarchitecture, Québec
Lighting Design & Procurement: LumiGroup, Québec
Lighting Manufacturers: Absolux, Lightheaded, Solavanti, Viscor Lighting, Castor Design, MP Lighting, Pinnacle, and Osram

GALLERY