Q. When did you first become interested in architecture?
JP: ′It’s a long story! ′ says Jonathan Pelletier laughing
′As a kid, I was a big fan of Legos, I could spend hours building things in complete silence and focus. So, I already had a strong interest in spatiality, construction and creation. Thinking about it today, I’m convinced that the desire to become an architect was already starting to grow in my head at that time. It became clear to me that I wanted to work in that field when, at the end of high school and in cegep, I chose my classes with in mind the goal of obtaining a degree in architecture. However, five or six years ago I found my old elementary school graduation book in which it mentionned that I wanted to become an architect… I didn’t remember that at such a young age, it was already so clear to me. So you can say it’s a childhood dream come true! ′
Q. If you had any advice for someone who wanted to become an architect what would it be?
JP: ′Being an architect takes a lot of effort and perseverance. In college, the workload is intense. However, once you start working, you quickly realise that architecture is such a wide and varied discipline, where there is a lot to learn. It is a job that brings you to see and work in a variety of disciplines. You have to be curious and creative when it comes to finding conceptual and constructive solutions.
Thus, you have to show openness, curiosity, and never hesitate to seek information from more experienced colleagues. Entrepreneurs and manufacturers are also important sources of information to improve your knowledge. Even after 10 years of being an architect, I still find myself learning daily. I guess it will be this way until I retire! ′
Q. You’ve been focusing on project management, why?
JP: ′At the beginning of my career, I tried a bit of everything, but I soon realized that project management is what suited my strengths the most! Having a more technical and rational side to my personality, it felt natural for me to take on this role. Being a project manager also entails always keeping in mind the quality and aesthetics of the project. Being rigourous and versatile comes in handy having this role. I still enjoy being involved in design, but I thrive on sharing ideas and participating in teamwork.
Project management also requires some creativity especially when searching for innovative solutions that more often than not rises throughout the process. These solutions must affect the concept as little as possible and at best they can sometimes even improve it! So our role is to make the concept as true as possible to the designer’s intentions while taking into consideration technical constraints. The further we are in a project, the more creative solutions need to be, as options often become more limited.’
Q. What does it mean for you to be a part of the new generation ?
JP: ′When I started working in architecture, my goal was to become a partner or to start my own firm. I’m the kind of guy who wants to bring ideas to the table and make sure the company I work for evolves continuously. Being a partner today allows me to be more involved in creating a rewarding and stimulating workplace.
And beyond that, I wish, in the future, to continue to invest myself in LEMAYMICHAUD’s growth and to help the company expand in Canada, Québec and why not, internationally while completing stimulating projects.
Q. What do you think the pandemic has changed in the industry?
JP: ′With the pandemic, the importance of buying local is even more present, and there has been a growth in the use of locally sourced materials and building methods. By integrating the expertise from fellow citizens, I think it created an even stronger sense of community. In Quebec, we are fortunate to have very good expertise in several areas, like wood working for example. I believe we are all more aware of the importance of encouraging local businesses and craftsmen and thus showing solidarity in harder times.
The work-from-home situation will now be obviously part of the new working habits. Having said that, I strongly believe in the benefits of physical presence at work as it promotes human contacts and the creation of a synergy among colleagues. Many offices are probably turning towards a hybrid work mode that will allow employees more flexibility. ′
Q. You are involved in the company’s social committee, what is the importance of a good team spirit for you?
JP: ′ I’ve been involved in the Social Committee for some time now and that because I believe in the importance of cultivating LEMAYMICHAUD’s company culture where the employee and teamwork is at heart. The people are our primary resources, so it’s important that everyone is happy at work and have a sense of belonging. I find it essential that the workplace is enjoyable, where employees feel happy to come in and where relationships and team spirit are motivating. I’m also someone who loves human contact and socializing, so getting involved in the committee felt natural to me. Kindness is a value of mine and I realized that focusing on the positive is important as well as to give everyone the opportunity to express themselves and above all to make sure everyone is happy.’
Q. Do you feel like working with a client on several projects, for example you’ve worked on many Simons stores, builds trust that can enhance the pace and nature of the work?
JP: ′I’ve had the opportunity to work on Simons stores in Gatineau, Edmonton, and Old Quebec… and I do find it true that when working on several projects for the same client we definitively integrate more of client’s company culture. It’s easier to meet the client’s demands and expectations when we have a good understanding of their company’s. Maison Simons is a local company, loyal to its partners, and it is a very pleasant work environment. We take pride in our relationship with them!
It is uncommon in retail that companies invest in design, architecture and sustainable development. Simons understands the stakes and importance of doing quality projects. Their openness to new ideas is incredible! ′
Q. What’s the most exciting project you’ve done at LEMAYMICHAUD?
JP: ′As I said previously, Simons projects are very prominent in my career because of their quality, incredible detailing and architectural design. These mandates have always unfolded with the utmost respect for professionals and ideas. Creativity has a predominant place in these projects even with all the constraints there may be. The trust between us and Simons created space for openness to ideas, which allowed us to integrate completely original ideas that ended up making all the difference.
In addition to Simons stores, the Strom Spa Nordique in Old Quebec has been very memorable!
Obviously, this project has had a lot of recognition in the architecture and interior design industry and it continues to, even two years after the completion of the project. We feel truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work on an outstanding project and site.
Q. Speaking of spas, can you tell us more about the challenges of such a construction?
JP: ′Before the Strom Spa of Old Quebec mandate, I had the opportunity to work on the spa of Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel so I knew the basic principles. For the Strom Spa, there was a lot of exchange of ideas with the client to shape the project. As the project progressed, new ideas were added to make it even more interesting. This required very tight coordination with the various participants to make the adjustments along the way. Although the project wasn’t so ′big′ in terms of surface area, it required the intervention of multiple specialized professionals.
Organizing all the mechanics needed to run a spa was an important issue. Everything had to remain functional in terms of operations without affecting the customer experience or aesthetics of the project.
On the other hand, another major challenge for the project was the indoor floating pool, a space that offers an experience that resembles to the feeling of swimming in the Dead Sea. This pool, with a very high salinity in order to allow floating, has been carried out in very few projects. Thus, expertise available for this type of installation was limited. We had to ask a lot (enormously!) of questions to find the answers and get the final result. ′
FLASH Q/A WITH JONATHAN PELLETIER
Develop or create? Create
Dreamer or realist? Dreamer
Favorite part of your job? Social relationships
What makes you want to wake up in the morning? Challenges
Do you have a philosophy that guides you today? Simplicity. Less is more.
What achievement are you most proud of? My family
Black and white or color? Black and white
Mies van der Rohe or Frank Gehrry? Mies van der Rohe, all the way.
What architectural work would you like to be the creator of? Several projects by Mies Van der Rohe, including the Seagran building in New York which still seems timeless today.