Award-Winning Souvenir Boutique in Canada’s Biodôme Brought to Life by Enscape

The Biodôme boutique is a souvenir boutique located in one of Canada’s most iconic former athletic venues, the recently renovated Montreal Biodôme. When the City of Montreal (Espace pour la vie) tasked ADHOC Architectes & Messier Designers with the project, the design team was determined to create something that could live up to this unique and historical context.

Originally designed by Roger Taillibert, the Montreal Biodôme was built as the track cycling vélodrome for the 1976 Olympic Games. In 1992, it was converted into the Biodôme, housing replicas of four distinctive ecosystems: The Tropical Forest, the Laurentian Forest, the Saint Lawrence Marine Eco-system, and the Sub-Polar Region.

Challenged to create a boutique that was welcoming, enticing, and flexible enough to accommodate seasonal crowd changes and a wide variety of souvenirs, the designers found their solution in their surroundings. To develop a retail experience that could grow and change, they looked to natural structures that grow and change.

And thanks to Enscape’s real-time visualization tool, they could effortlessly communicate their ideas with the client and efficiently realize their concept.

The finished retail space at the Biôdome boutique, Montreal, Canada

Exploring Biodôme and Honeycombs via 3D visualization

To keep the focus on the products, ADHOC and Messier created a refined space within the Biodôme’s swooping interior. Within this minimal space, they devised an “adaptable” display system. Taking inspiration from the Biodôme’s ecosystems, they studied organizational structures found in nature: cell division and cell structure, the hexagonal wax comb produced by honeybees, and the formation of basalt columns, to name just a few.

Their research inspired a modular solution that uses four basic hexagonal volumes as display and storage units, which can be configured, combined, and installed in many ways. The beautiful and practical modules can also be rearranged as needed to shape the space in response to shifting crowd sizes, new products, and changing demand. “Like a living organism capable of adapting and responding to its environment,” note the designers, “this living boutique will evolve with the passing seasons and years.”

To fully convey the potential of their concept to the client, the designers needed to prepare renderings showing as many configurations as possible. Creating these illustrative images required a multi-stage process using multiple design programs. It was a difficult and time-consuming method.

A flexible and adaptable retail space

But then they tried Enscape, and everything changed.

Using Enscape’s intuitive plugin and various rendering options, they quickly and easily created the effects they needed. As they arranged and combined their modules to show multiple layouts in the design program, their Enscape visualization changed instantly. And since the renderings were so easy to share, it streamlined communication with the client and the entire project team. “It turned out to be much faster and efficient,” said the designers. “Enscape has truly helped us promote the project easily through diagrams and renderings.”

Enscape rendering of the interior space 

Enscape rendering of the modular furniture and interior space

Winning awards with real-time visualization and immersive virtual reality 

Enscape didn’t just help ADHOC and Messier with interior design renderings. It gave them an entirely new perspective on the project through immersive virtual reality tools. Enscape’s VR tools help architects identify design problems, make faster and more informed decisions, and get a better sense of the space before construction even starts. Enscape makes it easy to virtually step into a VR model of your project straight from Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, — all without disrupting your workflow. “This is also a feature that our clients truly appreciate,” says ADHOC and Messier.

The design community appreciates the results as well. Since opening in 2020, the Biodôme boutique’s innovative and practical design — realized with the help of Enscape — has been recognized with several awards, including an IID Award and Rethinking the Future Award. Since Enscape’s founding, virtual reality has been a core part of the company’s vision for the future of building design and construction. As VR technologies continue to become cheaper and more available, the benefits of using Enscape for architectural visualizations continue to grow. Beyond the industry accolades and awed clients, offices using Enscape are benefiting from better communication, faster decision-making and delivery, and fewer costly mistakes.

Enscape offers a 14-day free trial here.