Modern Contemporary Design


2 or (3…) Questions for _naturehumaine [architecture+design]


MOCO LOCO is 10 years on the web this year, to mark the occasion this week we’re talking to designers from where we began, our home town of Montreal. Co-founded by Stephane Rasselet and Marc-André Plasse, _naturehumaine is an architecture firm based in Montreal. We talked to them about their latest project, La Résidence Boyer in Montreal, aka “la couleuvre”.


MOCO: The nickname for La Résidence Boyer is “la couleuvre”, snake in english, besides the sinewy shape of the exterior is there any other reason for naming it that? The bathroom has a unique snakeskin-like tile pattern…

_naturehumaine: The project nickname came to be when we were designing the main volume of the extension. Our clients wanted a fun and playful space for their three children to grow up in. So we came with the idea of an extension that would start on the ground floor of their existing house, twisting its way through the rear courtyard, and mounting a brick volume clad with bricks salvaged from the demolished garage.


To reinforce the idea, we also decided to go for a black metal cladding and to randomize the window openings: Both reminders of a snake’s scales. The same concept was brought to the interior by creating a staircase borrowing its shape and vivid color from the reptile.


The fun and playful character comes through, it appears your clients gave you “carte blanche” for the design, was that the case?

With designing any private residence, there is always a tremendous amount of collaboration between architect and client. There are some cases where clients hire an architect and then tell them what to do, but in this case we were very lucky to have clients who hired us because they respected our work and were very open to our ideas.


There was still a certain back and forth, but they were happy with our esquisse from the beginning. While parts of the interior are very playful (such as the open concept bathroom), it was also designed to be adaptable and can change as the children grow and their needs evolve.


What’s next for _naturehumaine? Any new projects you can tell us about?

Beside our plans to take over the world (!), we are currently working on many residential projects. Not only we’re expanding our reach to work outside the greater Montreal, but we also get more and more clients asking us to work on new constructions.


Though it’s always a thrill to work out a renovation, we find great opportunities in building from the ground up, as we like to diversify our practice.




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