by Zohra KhanAug 22, 2022
Studio Paolo Ferrari has designed a sales showroom called ‘Zibi House’ for the ‘One Planet Community’-based new development in Canada. With an unrivalled location boasting 34 acres of waterfront in the downtown cores of Ottawa and Gatineau, the master planned development called Zibi city is rooted in regenerative principles. Amalgamating residential, commercial and community-focused spaces, the city aims to create a borderless community celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the site. The showroom, conceived by Toronto-based interior designer Paolo Ferrari and his team, materialises the intentions and visions of what the future Zibi city holds in store for its residents upon completion.
Reflecting on Zibi’s waterways and transportation history, the sales gallery has been built using flat-roofed shipping containers clad in corrugated blue aluminium. Focusing on building an immersive environment, the Zibi House is presented to the public in a “tactile and visceral way,” ensuring that it resonates the ambitions of the anticipated city. Designed around a central courtyard, the development that appears more like a house than a showroom celebrates the aboriginal roots and biodiversity of the area; glass walls bathing its interior spaces with natural sunlight.
Each of these light-filled rooms highlight a unique element of the site and are carefully curated to stimulate a multisensory user experience. A wood panelled ‘Scent Room’ houses a variety of native plants intended to evoke the fragrances of the region, while arched white ceilings and pale benches define the ‘Taste Room’ where one is meant to savour the taste of local ingredients. Another space, the ‘Sound Room’ painted in a rich red hue, features a black cone mounted from the ceiling that plays music from Jeremy Dutcher, a revered Canadian songwriter. In this manner each room is dedicated to illicit an emotional connection catered to one of the five senses; its material palette inspired by Zibi’s surroundings.
The experience rooms, connected via archways, are designed to be expressive in character; the remaining spaces adopting a more classic courtyard house approach. Upon entering through the reception, visitors are greeted with views of the courtyard’s single serviceberry or Shadblow tree - a native deciduous tree, chosen to pay tribute to the North American heritage of its location. Close to the entrance is a room swathed in wood, holding a large model of the future development. The cream coloured walls of the lounge room compliment the custom-made Paolo Ferrari furniture collection, which includes an off-white curved sofa, cushioned armchair, coffee table and a rug.
Exhibiting Zibi’s commitment to sustainability and historic preservation, agglomerate stone was selected to recall the local rocky terrain, whilst logs salvaged from the Ottawa river were used for the construction of wooden floors. Speaking of the objectives of the showroom, Paolo Ferrari says, “Our intent is to inspire, and our hope is that guests leave with a sense of joy”.
The house is complete with an eight-storey tower made of matching shipping containers (a concept formulated by Toronto-based architecture firm Partisans) and an observation deck on its highest level that offers expansive views of the surrounding landscape. The entire furniture range at Zibi House has been designed by Studio Paolo Ferrari and manufactured in Canada.
(Text by Saamia Makharia, an intern at stirworld.com)