In order to create a unique space that reflects the client’s desires while balancing premium design principles and the surrounding environment, interior designers must follow a careful, thoughtful process. Dive into our process behind creating the Eau Claire project on the banks of the Bow River in Calgary. 

The Client

Our client, Concord Pacific, is one of the largest and most prominent multi-family residential developers in North America with projects in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle and London, UK. 

Design Brief

In Calgary, Concord has partnered with Arthur Erickson and Nick Milkovich Architects. The late Arthur Erickson, one of Canada’s most celebrated architects, redefined 20th-century architecture, designing some of the most iconic civic projects around the world over his 55-year career. His life-long business partner, Nick Milkovich continues his legacy and vision with Eau Claire. The goal was to improve the previously barren site with timeless, trend-defying elegance.

The result is a riverfront masterpiece featuring a glittering, heavily glazed exterior, rooftop greenery, and balconies that play with the unique, irregular geometry of the structure. Construction on the West Tower has just completed and construction on the East Tower will begin in Spring 2020. Collaborating closely with the architecture team, the LIV designers set out to develop an interior landscape that would honour the polished Eau Claire’s exterior architecture. 

Project Challenges

Flood Mitigation

The disastrous impact of the 2013 Bow River floods, compelled the design team to incorporate important flood mitigation measures for protection from future increases in water levels. The infrastructure features secant pilings and a barrier wall as the first line of defense as well as upgraded sump pumps to prevent water from returning once it has been pumped out. In addition, the building uses the same self-repairing concrete used in dams. A concrete perimeter wall has been integrated into the property’s landscaping and, in the event of a flood, the normally open ‘gates’ are closed as a preliminary measure to stop water from flowing towards the buildings.

Climate-Specific Amenities

Due to the fluctuating climate and history of flooding in Calgary, both architect and designer sought to anticipate ways in which Eau Claire might not only overcome challenges but welcome them through reinforcements and amenities. As the architects incorporated intricate and fortified flood mitigation measures for the protection of the fundamental structure, the LIV Design team looked to design to simplify other climate challenges.

A city well-known for its plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfall, every winter Calgary faces extreme weather. Roads must be spread with salt, sand, and mud to prevent slipping. Rather than resisting or ignoring these climate challenges, the architecture and LIV design team celebrated them by creating amenities that helped residents embrace the winter more comfortably. These include:

  • A heated driveway and garage entranceway
  • An undercarriage cleaning system in the Eau Claire garage that keeps vehicles from being corroded by salt, ice, snow and dirt
  • A touchless car-wash that ensures every ride is clean year ‘round
  • Personal garages for tools and special automobiles
  • A pond and water feature in the landscaped grounds that doubles as a skating rink in winter

Other Luxury Amenities

Always seeking to delight and surprise our clients, LIV set about designing luxury amenity spaces that could be experienced year-round. The best example, of course, is the elaborate water feature and pond integrated into the thoughtfully landscaped grounds of Eau Claire. As the mercury drops, this pond freezes and becomes a skating pond for residents to enjoy.

Recognizing the growing public interest in health and wellness, the Eau Claire features luxurious health club facilities including a state-of-the-art fitness centre, lap pool, sauna and steam room. No gym or club membership required; residents have access to everything they need to lead a healthier lifestyle just steps away from their front door.

These amenity spaces, as well as the expansive lobby, were designed by LIV with the elegance of a 5-star hotel. Finishes are opulent, including both Bianco Statuario and Frappuccino marble flowing throughout common areas as well as suites.

Luxury Homes


Every Eau Claire suite kitchen embodies impressive, contemporary European style. The colours, materials and mood boards for every design element in each suite have been mindfully hand-picked by the LIV design team as the kitchen is the heart of every home. LIV selected Poggenpohl to provide the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry because of their innovative Porsche design, superior materials selection, and precision German engineering. All the cabinetry and millwork are made of the highest quality materials; the woods used by Poggenpohl for their veneers are produced using sustainable methods and mostly sourced in Germany.  LIV chose a walnut veneer for Eau Claire that adds elegance and warmth to the strong, linear lines of the space. This same finish is used throughout the suite on doors, casings and baseboards to create a cohesive design aesthetic that exudes raw luxury.

Poggenpohl Kitchens at Eau Claire | Photo: Joel Klassen
Poggenpohl Kitchens at Eau Claire | Photo: Joel Klassen

Other notable features of Poggehpohl millwork are:

  • German Precision fit
    This distinctive design allows doors to fit perfectly into the rebated cabinet. The front edge of the cabinet box is finished with a mitred aluminum profile anodized in aluminum-titanium colour. A narrow shadow gap all the way around visually separates the front from the cabinet. This feature of the doors is repeated on flaps, drawers and pull-outs.
  • Assisted-opening feature
    The handleless doors are activated in response to a light press of the finger on the front, opening the door by a few centimetres.  
  • Glass fronts
    Connected by aluminum profiles, coloured glazing is used to create frontages of singu­lar and seamless beauty. The polished veneer highlights the warmth and texture of the walnut to full effect.
Poggenpohl Kitchens Details

The kitchen also features a practical layout to optimize the space for easy accessibility and usability. Countertops and backsplashes are made of exquisite Bianco Statuario marble, adding to the cool elegance to the space. Kohler Vault double-equal bowl, stainless steel, under-mount sinks pair seamlessly with both Dornbracht (pictured above) and Kohler deck-mount kitchen faucets. 

The latest integrated stainless-steel Miele appliances blend perfectly with Poggenpohl surfaces and offer residents the very latest technology to enhance their cooking experience.


As design and comfort go hand-in-hand, in-floor heating is featured throughout every suite. Engineered wide plank hardwood flooring extends seamlessly into the kitchen from the living spaces, while large format Bianco Statuario marble floor tiles adorn the bathrooms. LIV chose this combination to create a perfect balance between the warmth of wood and the coolness and elegance of marble.

Frappuccino & Bianco Statuario Marble in Living Space
Wide Plank Oak Floors throughout Living Space | Staged by Shaun Ford & Co.


The beautiful Poggenpohl millwork of the kitchen is echoed in the bathrooms with under-mount, double sink vanities that mirror the kitchen cabinetry.  Kohler widespread gooseneck faucets crown each sink.

Poggenpohl Cabinetry & Kohler Faucets | Photo: Joel Klassen

Bianca Statuario large format tiles line the walls and floors, creating a beautiful spa-like sanctuary.


LIV recognizes the importance of optimal storage to today’s urban dweller and designed storage solutions carefully with this in mind. Bedrooms feature the Italian luxury of Poliform closets that offer highly functional and flexible storage options. Characterized by their quality and engineering, as well as their simplicity and elegance, Poliform systems ensure maximum capacity is achieved through meticulously-organized placement of doors, shelving, and drawers.

Poliform Closets | Photo: Joel Klassen

LIV Elements at Eau Claire

In every design scenario, it is important for LIV to balance aesthetics and functionality to create inviting, useful spaces. At Eau Claire, it was clear that the Poggenpohl kitchens served as the focal point of each home, providing the design inspiration for the entire suite. LIV’s commitment to luxury and quality was successfully realized in these beautiful, functional kitchens that feature German craftsmanship, sleek surfaces, efficient floorplans and warm-up/down lighting illuminating all kitchen surfaces.

Functional storage was also a priority for the client and something LIV understands well. The kitchen storage was optimized by Poggenpohl’s well-designed cabinetry while bedroom storage was optimized by Italian Poliform’s wardrobe solutions.

The finishing LIV touch was the suite numbering that appears on each door. At Eau Claire, we did not use the typical metal number and font on the door, but instead, the door number is etched on a clear acrylic panel with downlighting to create an illuminated effect. The concealed downlight emanates from the top metal plate branded with the Concord logo, a constant, glowing reminder of the excellence of Concord Pacific – and LIV Design Studio.

Check out other articles in our Design Deconstructed series and subscribe to be part of the LIV Design Newsletter here.

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