My clients asked for help turning a century-old loft space in Toronto's lovely St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood into a cool office that would wow their youthful team and woo potential employees.
The 3000-square foot space, which is entirely original red brick, had been gutted by flood, and a fire decades ago left the original ceiling beams gorgeously charred. I designed the space around materials often used in industrial-modern design: hot rolled patinaed steel, reclaimed wood and warehouse-style lighting.
We had to establish work stations for 24 people, three meeting rooms, functional and inviting lounge areas and a kick-ass bar-slash-kitchen for this work hard/play hard team. The final layout:
The hub of the space is the ten-foot bar, where casual gatherings take place on distressed leather stools from West Elm. There is room for the entire office to gather for business updates and Friday night drinks. A 70" television is within view for sports events. The 41" high bar is the perfect height for standing work, which is becoming more important to desk-bound office workers.
We positioned as many of the workstations as would fit along the window wall, to take advantage of the southern light. Simple, bench-style desks were chosen with a hot rolled steel base and barnwood-look top. The office was designed with no assigned desks: staff choose their spot for the day. If you don't snag a window seat one day, get to work earlier tomorrow :)
But in fact, the office was designed to encourage movement, collaboration and working wherever feels good. Industrial lockers offer safe storage for personal effects.
Two living room-like areas offer comfortable seating by Gus Modern. The lounge spaces invite informal gatherings or alternative work spots with coffee tables, rugs and side tables. Soft furnishings are seriously comfortable but firm enough to work at comfortably. A gorgeous walnut mid-century-style bookshelf neatly divides the lounge space from the workstations behind without adding cluttering partition walls.
The main conference room was designed with a generous 10-foot custom table crafted from solid oak with a blackened steel X-base. Map artwork was chosen to give a nod to the company's many offices around the globe. The cobalt blue looks fantastic against the red-orange brick.
Adjacent to the bar is a 9-foot long communal dining table. Behind it, a large custom push-pin map allows staffers to mark travels and acquisitions.