OVO, a Montreal fertility clinic, opened Quebec’s first private umbilical-cord blood preservation centre in December 2008. The centre cryogenically preserves stem cells found in the tissues surrounding the arteries of a newborn’s umbilical cord, freezing them at very low temperature (below 150 C ). The preserved cells can help fight certain diseases later in the infant’s life, should the need arise.
NFOE et associs architectes clearly delineated the clinic’s public and private realms. The public zone of the reception and consulting areas highlights the reservoir display, where cord blood is stored, with a futuristic aesthetic conveying the clinic’s advanced technology.
The reservoir, wrapped in a perforated metal screen, reposes in a glass-enclosed room adjacent to the consultation area, with its black epoxy slab counters and frosted-glass partitions. These two areas are framed by an overhead bulkhead finished in white glossy laminate and below by white ceramic-tile flooring. A wall of frosted glass filters the light from the private laboratory areas behind it. The reception area, meanwhile, is finished with a black laminate ceiling and black linoleum floor to ensure that it serves as a neutral background to the display area.
In contrast to the public area’s white and black, the private ultrasound and lab areas are a red zone: glossy red paint for the walls, and ceiling, red linoleum for the floors and perforated red Barrisol stretch-ceiling panels at the perimeter glazing.
The corridor, with its colourful, serpentine walls, evokes the umbilical cord. The circular floor plan of the ultrasound examination room and its round indirect pendant lighting fixture suggest the womb.
Design team: Rafie Sossanpour, partner-in-charge; Masa Fukushima, senior designer; Philippe McCormack, project manager; Maxime Pion, designer; and Philippe Martin, technician