Restore, Reuse, Replace: Le Fevre & Company office

Built in 1888 for Victoria Gas Co, the Le Fevre & Company office is a heritage building that became part of the BC Electrical Railway Co in 1905, and eventually part of the BC Hydro Power Plant.

The building sat vacant since the late 1980’s until KWI Design’s client, a property developer who specializes in Heritage Restoration Projects, took on the remediation work of the three storey building.

The client took on the lower floor as their office + event space. The firm’s design brief was to transform the space into a light filled, loft inspired environment that maintained the industrial flavor of the location and heritage architecture.

Image courtesy of KWI Design

This posed a challenge for the design team since  the lower floor location meant 3 walls of the space were windowless and pushed into the surrounding cityscape, with one façade quietly emerging at a lower point than street level.

The clients program for the office had layered complexities to serve the multiple facets of their business. Primarily an office, the space often plays host to evening cocktail hours, conferences and board meetings, while also acting as a leasing office for the developer’s rental properties and a Sales Center for the firm’s multiple Real Estate Developments.

Image courtesy of KWI Design

The space had to at once be a neutral back drop to showcase a current development project while simultaneously being a warm environment with bold identity to reflect the brand of the company and their personality.

“Restoring the spaces original materials from the 1880’s was paramount to the architectural design intent and we balanced these raw finishes (brick, raw sawn timbers, etc) with modern injections of highly polished concrete floors and matte black millwork,” says KWI Design.

Image courtesy of KWI Design

The combination fuses to create space with bold personality catering to an urban demographic, with custom furnishings designed to further highlight the clients west coast aesthetic.

An antique metal letter press + steel beams were restored to create table bases with reclaimed wood beam table tops for conference tables and reception. To achieve flexibility within the space, based on the complexities of the client’s programming, and to ensure natural lighting was capitalized on, floor to ceiling glass + steel wall systems were designed creating transparency throughout the space.

A set of “Schafer of LA” vintage tufted leather sofas were sourced as key pieces to furnish the offices library lounge; a space conceptualized to host casual meetings, design ideation sessions and sitting areas for social gatherings.