Aire commune makes uncommon spaces

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal's ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.

This article was updated on June 2, 2022.

You may not yet know their name, but guaranteed you’ve enjoyed their spaces: Aire commune is an organization that has been curating ephemeral outdoor spaces across Montréal since it was founded in 2017. Makers of the first outdoor working spaces in the country, they’ve since elevated Montréal city life for both locals and visitors with the 40 beautiful sites throughout the city designed for greendesking, relaxing and enjoying live music. In short, to celebrate the city’s creative effervescence. 

Designed for a joyous mix of work and play, Aire commune’s spaces span the city from Lachine to Mile End, downtown and the Old Port. This year sees them DOUBLE their ephemeral spaces to an impressive 40, all built from wood, with built-in shade, free Wi-Fi and electric plugs (especially useful when your phone needs a recharge). Free for all from June to October (some on a first-come, first-serve basis, some requiring an online reservation), Aire commune’s ephemeral sites invite passersby—both residents and travellers—to saddle up, pull out their laptops, and do their best work as city life swirls around them.

Greendesking who?

What is greendesking, you ask, and how did Montréal become its capital? Greendesking is an Aire commune signature: picture an al fresco version of shared workspaces, where the fresh air, sun and fun help reduce stress and amp up creativity. Thanks in large part to Aire commune, Montréal has the largest network of greendesking in North America, making it a prime site for workations—a lifestyle based on the combination of longer-term travel and remote working. Now that so many people have hybrid work lives, no longer pinned to a desk, it’s possible to work from a new site every day.

 

The traveller’s perfect pit stops

With its spaces dispersed throughout town, Aire commune encourages its users to explore the rich fabric of different Montréal neighbourhoods before and after their work sessions. They’re even built partnerships with a dozen local hotels to offer deals and tour suggestions to visitors, thanks to their Workation program. Watch their schedule, because they’ll be presenting a series of live music events on hotel terrasses this summer in collaboration with the Montréal International Jazz Festival, Osheaga, and Pride Montréal.

Some sites to explore

Among their many exciting sites, some Aire commune spots to explore first are Esplanade Louvain, a hot spot for music performances at the corner of Esplanade and de Louvain Streets in the fashion district; Cantine Bar à vin, a dreamy Old Montréal location to enjoy after-work cocktails, natural wines and bites including fried cauliflower with pepperoncino and seafood guédilles (opens June 17); La Bronzette (opens June 30), a perfect place to deepen that tan at La Brise du large in Lachine; and Stations d’été (opens June 6), a self-service workspace in the heart of downtown, on the Esplanade of Place-Ville-Marie. Whether it’s to work, play, meet, relax, clink glasses at a 5 à 7 or take in some free live music under the sun, Aire commune has got the space for you. See their full list and schedule here.

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal's ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.

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