A VR Creative Director’s Montreal

Paul Raphaël, co‑founder of the immersive‑entertainment company Felix & Paul Studios, takes us to his favourite spots for quick hits of caffeine and inspiration in Old Montreal.

I met my business partner Félix Lajeunesse in film school at Concordia University and, after graduating, we built a 360-degree virtual-reality camera to create immersive viewing experiences. In 2014, we began working on projects like a VR tie-in for Jean-Marc Vallée’s film Wild and a tour of the White House with President Obama and Michelle Obama. Our offices are close to downtown, but we’re on a small street just a few blocks away from the St. Lawrence River – it’s both a quiet place and one where we’re surrounded by art.

March 25, 2020
An experimental art show at the Société des Arts Technologiques
   Photo: Sébastien Roy
  1. Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT) is great for checking out what other people in the innovative entertainment industry are doing. I’ve been coming here for years to catch experimental art performances and immersive concerts under the 18-metre-wide dome.

A man standing outside on a cloudy day modelling a black dress shirts and pants from Philippe Dubuc
   Photo: Jean Claude Lussier
  1. Philippe Dubuc moved a couple blocks away, but the menswear designer used to have a store across the street from us. I’d drop in to pick up black pants and shirts, which are a go-to for me. However, convenience has its downsides: Félix and I once showed up to an event wearing the same suit.

  2. Café Balance functions as my one-stop coffee shop. I buy their beans and oat milk to bring home, and I’ll pop in to grab a latte to go or stick around for a casual meeting. Their barista Sam is friendly and plays music that makes you feel sunny regardless of the season.

Particles of Existence exhibition at the Centre Phi
Particles of Existence exhibition.   Photo: Sandra Larochelle
  1. Centre Phi is a multimedia cultural space that we have a long-standing connection to: Its founder Phoebe Greenberg is one of our investors, and we showcased our first project here (an in-studio shoot of Patrick Watson’s song “Strangers”). The programming is full of interesting exhibits, like last summer’s This Light Never Goes Out: Political Cartoons by Jim Carrey.

  2. Marusan has some of the best udon and pork katsu in town, so I regularly line up. Our team often has meetings over lunch hour, and it’s not unusual to see a few people around the table with takeout boxes from this speedy Japanese counter.

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