The Biodome Boutique | ADHOC architectes & MESSIER designers | World Design Awards 2021

ADHOC architectes & MESSIER designers: Winner of World Design Awards 2021. The Biôdome boutique is an interior design project of modular furniture and storage units for the gift shop space of the recently renovated Montreal Biôdome. Conceived from a consortium between ADHOC architectes and Messier Designers, the mandate was to renovate the 2100 ft2 boutique to revive the experience of the space and stimulate sales. Nestled inside the new towering white screens that weave through the framework of the building, the Biôdome boutique is located at the end of the museum promenade.

We proposed an organizational concept strongly influenced by nature, which in turn allowed for a degree of evolution in the design capable of adapting to and anticipating changing needs. Inspired by structure and organization in nature, this project was modeled on the shape of a cell, the fundamental unit of structure in all biology capable of autonomous reproduction. The Biôdome being the ‘House of life’, it was fitting for us to draw a formal parallel between the natural cell and the module. After exhaustive research on natural forms, cellular organization and subsequent geometric exploration, the hexagonal frustum was determined to be the most optimal and versatile shape for this project’s particular needs. Several natural phenomena at different scales provided formal inspiration, including basaltic rock formation and beehives. This research enabled us to develop a narrative structure unique to the Biodôme boutique.

The design approach rests thus on the creation of simple elements (the cells) that can be spatially arranged and connected to construct complex modules. These modules, once combined, respond to the operational and functional need of showcasing products and defining space. Like a living organism capable of adapting and responding to its environment, this “living” boutique will evolve with the ebb and flow of the seasons and years. As the products change to adapt to the demand of the clientele, so too can the modular arrangement. There are four base modules designed to respond to varying product showcasing needs to which accessories can be added. This concept allows for almost infinite composition and reconfiguration possibilities.

Each base module has its own size and specific tint of white. These whites were carefully selected to break the uniformity of industrial profuction, and to express the colour variations found in geological and natural formations. The main material used for the fabrication of the modules is lazer-cut, folded and welded steel covered with a heavy-duty baked-on polymer paint. Oak was favoured for the wooden elements. These materials were chosen for their exceptional durability and reduced environemntal footprint.

The space is minimalist in order to emphasize products and ensure smooth customer circulation. The furniture can accomodate toys, plush toys, jewelry, sweets, books and clothing, which have been carefully selected by the Biodôme team. In the spirit of the Biôdome’s project Migration, which highlights the notions of movement and perpetual change, the boutique embodies the continuance of the experience of the Biôdome, and perpetuates it beyond the context of the museum.

Project Details
ADHOC architectes & MESSIER designers

Project Name
The Biodome Boutique


World Design Awards Category
Interior Design Built

Project Location

Ville de Montréal, Espace pour la vie


Project manager
Gestion BGC

Metal furniture fabricator
Métal CN

2100 ft2


Jean-François St-Onge, François Martineau, Anik Malderis, Maryse Allard, Patrick Messier


Photography ©Credit
©Raphael Thibodeau

Adhoc, is a Latin phrase meaning “for this“; Designed for a specific request, a situation, a problem to be solved, an opportunity to be seized. 

ADHOC architectes is a studio founded in 2014 by two architects with different personalities and a common vision of creating meaningful architecture through good design. The studio’s mission is to provide innovative architectural solutions which challenge the established conformity. An ADHOC-project must be memorable, inspiring, distinctive, aesthetic and functional.

ADHOC architectes aims to highlight the intrinsic elements of places and enhances them through innovative, contextual and poetic architecture