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BRP Design Center Inauguration

Thu, 18 Sep 2008

On September 10th, Canadian powersports specialist BRP inaugurated its new Design & Innovation Centre in Valcourt, Quebec (one hour south-east of Montreal, near the US border). This new 5000 m2 state-of-the-art building will house BRP's design and advanced concept teams working on all its brands and product families: the Can-Am spyders and ATVs, Lynx and Ski Doo snowmobiles, Sea Doo personal watercrafts and speedboats, and related lifestyle and accessories design.

The team of 60 individuals includes transportation designers, product designers, graphic designers, engineers, human factors experts, mechanics, CAD technicians, modelers, molders, painters, and management. The new design center is conveniently located next door to BRP's main engineering research facility.

Formerly known as the Recreational Products Division of the Bombardier industrial conglomerate, well known for its planes, trains and mass transit equipment production, BRP split from the mother ship five years ago to fly on its own. The now independent company is still partly owned by the Bombardier family which explains why it's investing 15M$ to regroup its forces in the centre of the picturesque village where the company founder, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, started manufacturing half-track vehicle 80 years ago and where he invented the snowmobile in the late fifties. All the BRP design activities have now moved to the new design center and the Sherbrooke QC advanced studio is now closed, as well as the Sea Doo studio in Benton IL.

Etienne Guay, design director Can-Am products, believes that "by centralizing all our design resources here in Valcourt we will be a more efficient and more nimble design organization. We'll have the capacity to allocate temporarily more people to a project and get more creative output and more synergy". His boss, executive vice-president design and innovation, Denys Lapointe, visited many design centers before sitting with his personnel and the architects to create a building that would reflect BRP's design process and values. He states that: "at the end of the day, it's our people, our team players, that do the creative work, and our goal here was to valorize them and stimulate them with this vast and well-lit working environment". Effectively a lot of work went into bringing the natural light inside the building without compromising confidentiality. Lapointe also adds that this building will be "an argument to attract the most talented designers to BRP".

The building is structured in five sections: the central hall with administrative functions and meeting rooms, two open offices plateau are overlooking the very long main studio floor with its adjacent succession of clay rooms. In the basement you find all the shops required to build functional prototypes. The design center is named after Laurent Beaudoin, son-in-law of J.A. Bombardier, who transformed the corporation into a global transportation player in the last decades. At 70, Beaudoin still serves as BRP's Chairman and has always been a strong believer in the power of design. In his speech, Mr. Beaudoin expressed the wish that the new Design & Innovation Center bearing his name become an "incubator of visionary products".


By Pascal Boissé