This stunning apartment is a lesson in design from a distance

Situated in the Majestic, a historic apartment building on the Upper West Side, this renovation was to be a total “interior transplant” with all physical vestiges of the old design removed and re-imagined, including the existing windows and mechanical systems. The challenge? The renovation of these suites can be compared to arthroscopic surgery in that all of the alterations, relocations and connections must take place within the space itself, unseen by neighbours below who’s finished ceilings must not be disturbed, or above who’s plumbing and mechanical systems traverse through the suite. 

Interior Designer: David Hooper, ARIDO
Design Firm: Powell & Bonell
Photographer: John Bessler 

Luxe living room area in creams, browns and with cozy textured elements.

Working with a local architect and contractor the spaces and mechanical systems were photo documented, notated, and confirmed before the renovation process took place. Using this method, solutions to complicated routing and concealment were devised by the team. Wall hung toilets allowed for toilet rough-ins to be managed within walls rather than penetration of the slab. Plumbing and mechanical was concealed within bulkheads, decorative wall articulations, and millwork to visually justify what could not be moved. New lighting technology allowed for smaller tolerances for electrical, which subsequently allowed the ceiling height to be increased. Every millimeter of space was maximized on this project. 

TV screen emerges from special millwork element in this cream and brown living room.

In the design brief, the client required two complete bathrooms where only one had existed before. Another imperative was to capitalize on the windows,  the light, and the views, where previously small cut-up spaces compromised both. Reorienting these spaces, and opening up the galley kitchen via an interior window provided room for a guest and private bathroom, an enlarged kitchen, and an adjacent dry bar. The interior window can be open or concealed via mirrored folding screens which reflect the views when a more formal dining setting is desired. 

Furnishings are oriented toward the windows and a muted natural palette blends harmoniously with the cityscape beyond. A television is concealed in a custom cabinet to not distract from the expansive vistas beyond the confines of the suite.

The open layout with a minimum of contrasting finishes allows the owner and their guests to feel the luxury of space and invites them to enjoy a natural flow from one area to another from the moment one enters the suite. The final effect is a homage to the beauty and excitement of the New York skyline superimposed against a foreground of calm and warmth. Perfect for glamorous evenings and a refuge from the frenetic city beyond.

Distance is no obstacle for this interior design project

OpenText’s vision was to create a major European Hub at their Reading, UK premises. The project consolidates two sites and expands OpenText’s current occupancy from two to three floors, linking to the ground floor for greater brand presence, as well as greater access to natural light and exterior views (including the protected wetlands nearby) which contribute to employee health and wellbeing.

Interior Designer: Lisa Fulford-Roy, ARIDO
Design Team: Winnie Leung, ARIDO; Erin Armstrong, ARIDO; Mhay Trinidad, Intern, ARIDO
Design Firm: HOK

Intended to accommodate more client interaction and a consistent employee experience, OpenText focused on expanding the reception area, adding an executive boardroom and lounge, designing a technology-enabled meeting complex and integrating employee social gathering space and food services.

The existing stair was reactivated to encourage employee activity and vertical circulation. The ground floor incorporates several informal meeting spaces to encourage collaboration away from the quieter work areas on the first and second floors. As a refresh of the first and second floor had been recently completed, existing elements were incorporated with the new workplace design.

By engaging local employee ambassadors through vision sessions, the design team identified and integrated regional nuances. As the project location is 5,600 km away and separated by a 5 hour time difference, collaboration with the local project team was key to the success of the project. The Toronto team worked closely with the local client to fully understand specific needs of local users, like benching stations which were included in the solution, maintaining consistency with the existing workspace.

The finishes in the new workspace and Town Hall infuse the space with energy, with more vibrant OpenText brand colours introduced through brand murals, accent wall colours and some furniture pieces. Client-facing areas are more sophisticated, with muted colour tones, warm wood finishes, copper and brass pendant fixtures and marble transaction tops on the reception desk.

Employee breakout space with white tables and high top counter with modern lamps hung overhead.

The existing spiral staircase connects the new space to the old, encouraging movement between the two. Teamwork was essential due to the project location; the team worked closely with our design-build counterparts to ensure the design vision was executed per our specifications.

This Silicon Valley office embodies the best in workplace design

Open Text, like many offices, has recently announced a shift to remote work due to COVID-19. However, the project team still completed the work for this space, and it’s worthwhile to share their approach.

The client for this project, Open Text believes that its values are key to its past and future success. As a Canadian company that was expanding to Silicon Valley, it did not want an office that mimicked their competitors’ ‘adult playground’ spaces. Instead, OpenText wanted this new office to embody values of variety, wellness and connection.

Interior Designer: Danielle Leon, ARIDO
Design Team: Jenna Walsh, ARIDO
Design Firm: HOK
Photographer: Tom Arban, Emily Hagopian

The design team created a space where ninety-nine percent of open workstations have a view of the outdoors and seventy-nine percent situated within natural light. Additionally, the planning and architectural execution provides employees with easy access to refuel stops, hydration stations, and integrates biophilic design elements to boost employee wellness.

View of employee canteen with yellow cabinetry and glass wall with black trim.

Variety required that the OpenText team could work throughout the office in several distinct spaces. The design blends a communication stair, work cafe, lounge areas, traditional meeting rooms, scrum room, games room, focused workspaces with sit/stand desks, walk stations and tech-free recharge rooms. Open collaboration zones occur away from desk areas, to create privacy for focused work and comfort for collaboration.

The project team made a conscious decision to create a wide range of spaces that feel more like a hotel lobby or local cafe than a traditional corporate office. These fusion spaces have all the tools required for users to be productive, along with the added benefit of being emotionally comforting.

View from bottom of the stairs stone steps lead you up to a curving black staircase.

Lastly, OpenText’s history and its Canadian heritage are built into the office design. A perforated metal screen pattern displays the foundational software code on which Open Text was built. Meeting room names are a marriage of Canadian locations and code. The design team commissioned a world map made from keyboard keys to speak to Open Text development teams coding around the world. The office design keeps sight of Open Text’s Canadian roots, while they continue to grow worldwide.

Call for Nominations 2021/22 ARIDO Board of Management

Call for Nominations 2021/22 ARIDO Board of Management

It’s a really interesting time to join the ARIDO Board of Management. The Board of Management develops and guides the association’s strategic direction and works to advance the profession and association provincially.

If you want to be part of shaping our collective future and take part in the decision making which guides ARIDO, maybe it’s time to apply!

ARIDO’s Nominating Committee will begin working on the slate of nominations for the 2021/22 ARIDO Board of Management. There are currently three Director positions open for the ARIDO Board of Management for the coming term along with one position for President-elect.

Registered members in good standing who are interested in putting their name forward or who wish to nominate another Registered Member will require their nomination to be seconded by three (3) other Registered members in good standing, in accordance with ARIDO’s Operating By-laws (By-law No. 1). Please click here for a copy of the nomination form.

Included with the nomination should be a short bio outlining the candidate’s practice and volunteer history. The candidate should also include a statement outlining why they wish to be considered for the ARIDO Board of Management. Please use this form.

President-elect Criteria
A candidate for President-elect must have served as an elected director on the Board of Management, a Chapter President, or as a member of an ARIDO Standing Committee or Task Force of the Association for a full term of office at least once in the 15 years prior to the date of the election.

Board Term
Elected Board Members will serve on the ARIDO Board for a three-year term.

Intern Director
One representative from the Intern membership is appointed by the Board of Management, for a period of one year and may be re-appointed annually for no more than three consecutive years. The current Intern Director position will be open for new appointment as of April 2021. Intern members interested in this position should submit a short bio outlining a brief summary about them and their volunteer history. The Intern should also include a statement outlining why they wish to be considered for the ARIDO Board of Management. Please use this form.

Diversity and Inclusion
Earlier this year, ARIDO released a statement committing to address the under-representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour within the interior design profession and ARIDO Board of Management. In order to establish a Board that reflects Ontario’s multicultural society more fully and further advance the association’s work to uphold equity and diversity, the Board of Management is seeking nominations of members who self-identify as part of groups which have been under-represented in the past.

This can include, but is not limited to, individuals who self-identify as:

  • Black, Indigenous or People of Colour
  • individuals with disabilities
  • individuals who identify as LGBTQIA2
  • individuals with diverse gender identities
  • New Canadians or Permanent Residents

ARIDO also recognizes that individuals may self-identify as members of multiple groups.

With greater diversity on the Board of Management, ARIDO can work towards an enhanced and elevated commitment to accessibility, equity, diversity, and inclusion for all within our profession and community.

Volunteer Commitment
The ARIDO Board of Management meets monthly, in person, or via teleconference, with additional meetings as needed.

Board Term
Elected Board Members will serve on the ARIDO Board for a three-year term.

Any members submitting a nomination should do so by Friday, December 11, 2020.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss the nominations process, please email  Irma Kemp at ikemp@arido.ca or phone 416-921-2127 ext. 4225.

This welcoming, airy space is conference central for a Toronto firm

It’s true … Better questions, yield better answers. When our professional services client asked us to develop a landmark facility that supports their lines of business, employee engagement and much needed event and client experience space, our minds, as designers, leapt to the countless ways their brand could be emphasized in the new space.

Interior Designer: Caitlin Turner, ARIDO; Lori Urwin, ARIDO

Design Team: Daniela Barbon, ARIDO; Meagan Buchanan, ARIDO; Susan Tienhaara, ARIDO; Kaitlin McElroy, ARIDO

Design Firm: HOK

Project Photographer: Karl Hipolito

Our designers worked intimately with the client to create a classic, yet timeless space where events, dinners and educational forums can take place and showcase the firm’s innovation, knowledge and value to its clients. Expansive city views, tech-enabled boardrooms, collaborative meeting areas and a vibrant event space can all be found on the penthouse floor of a Toronto high rise with spectacular 360-degree views of the city and beyond.

An adaptable space with flexible layout options allows for more intimate gatherings, open receptions and meetings.

Infused with daylight during the day and alluring mood lighting at night, the space accommodates all types of employee and client interactions. Plenty of gathering space for focused conversation was included to take advantage of the vistas, as well as provide additional breakout and quiet zones.

Space is used carefully in the suite of rooms, a long breakout space along the window accomodates a six seater high top, smaller cafe tables and lounge seating.

As the elevator doors open on the 40th floor, employees and guest are met with a highly polished and comfortable space, akin to a hotel venue. Prisms of light at entryways and across walls, clad in leather and metal screening, subtly reference the company’s logo. Twelve-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows complemented by clerestories and a glass ceiling invite daylight into the space and highlight the wood, leather, cool limestone and soft furnishings. Embracing a sense of light, air and space, the calm interiors are a backdrop for the stunning views of the city and lake beyond.

Employees at work in this bright glass panelled work space with pale limestone floors, pale teal floors and brathtaking views of Toronto.

This newly constituted workplace for this firm has simplified operations, decreasing overall conference costs and enhancing the organization’s stature amongst employees, clients and the competition.

How a public library was transformed for the 21st century

Hamilton Public Library’s (HPL) full scope included renovations to four different spaces, totalling more than 28, 000 square feet.

Interior Designer: Dora Lomax, ARIDO
Design Team: Karin Vandenberg, ARIDO; Pete VandenArend, Intern, ARIDO
Design Firm: McCallum Sather Architects Inc.
Photographer: Dan Banko

The HPL wanted to serve their community’s 21st century needs, but was held back by a dated setting and limited budget. Major priorities were more digital literacy services, like a lab and training programs, space that would accommodate group and solo study, and community gathering space for multiple music events throughout the year.

Library floor and seating area with patterned carpet and low yellow seating.

Placing new program space on the perimeter walls gave more room for the concert space, while moveable glass walls left sightlines open, while keeping equipment secure. With so many glass walls, the city views were uninterrupted, however, this left few places to add colour and interest to the space. A carpet that used hexagonal tiles piqued the interest of the city, and HPL found additional resources to inject more colour in the space.
The new space features the Discovery Hub with a Maker Space, digital media room, music room, green room, video production space, computer training room, reading spaces, multi-purpose room, art gallery and place to host the beloved ‘Music in the Round’ events.

The integrated design comfortably accommodates a hive of activity, down to the specially-made carpet designed in a pattern of a motherboard, which visually reinforces the library’s intent for this flexible, creative hub. The multi-functional space balances acoustical demands with mechanical and air flow requirements, and now comfortably supports private, semi-private or collaborative activity.

Existing furniture was reconfigured with new pieces to create a new computer training area. The moveable glass walls can be reconfigured based on the HPL’s needs, and a pull-down reel system accommodates electrical connectivity throughout the space.
Once it opened in May 2016, it quickly became a hub of activity, adding significant value to the community through access to space and equipment otherwise out of reach.

Luxe redesign crystallizes William Ashley’s 71 year legacy

After nearly twenty-five years in Toronto’s Manulife Building, William Ashley relocated to The Colonnade, one of Toronto’s most renowned retail addresses and a designated heritage building. The design team’s task was to create a space that modernizes the brand and attracts new clientele.

Interior Designer: Allen Chan, ARIDO
Design Firm: DesignAgency
Photographer: Ben Rahn, George Pimentel

Inspired by William Ashley’s 71-year legacy, its abundant offerings, and the distinct character of the host building, DesignAgency created an aesthetic that balances tradition and modernity, appealing equally to a broad array of demographics. The glittering jewel-box like interior is defined by bold, monochromatic shelving that unifies offerings while allowing the array of products to convey their unique stories. Gold detailing recalls the brand’s signature boxes, and chandeliers and luminous materials accentuate the store’s sparkle. One remarkable feature of the store is its functionality – for example, the lounge is a place to relax or sample the products first-hand, and display tables can be joined in the central galleria to create a dining table for 120 people.

The main entrance to the Colonnade is now an elegant white and gold entrance to the store. Customers ascend a golden escalator and are immediately welcomed by the bright and airy setting. The design team established zones, demarcated by their materials, shelving, and lighting to create unique atmospheres for different products such as crystal, silverware, and casual dinnerware.

Each zone is rendered in a complementary neutral palette to let the displayed products take centre stage, with materials chosen to absorb and reflect the natural light that pours in from clerestory windows. Luminous white marble plinths display a range of glass and decor, adding a sculptural feeling to the space while maintaining clear sightlines. Recessed lights and glittering chandeliers from feature brands such as Baccarat and Lalique add to the sparkle, calling out products that William Ashley sell, and getting people in the mood for entertaining.

The design also facilitates the store’s multitude of experiential functions. Customers can sit in the lounge, outfitted with Johnathan Adler furnishings to enjoy coffee or tea while waiting for purchases to be wrapped, or have a refreshment from the bar. The grand hall is easily convertible into a dining and event space for 120 guests. 25 hidden point-of-sale systems mask the digital commerce and help staff orchestrate a seamless personal experience.

Quantum mechanics inspires the redesign of this U of T Lab

The first and second floors of the McLennan Physical Laboratories were alienating, institutional spaces, harshly lit with overhead fluorescents. In the classrooms, students sat crowded along long tables; the setup was so inefficient the department was turning away 100 students from a popular course each term, due to lack of space. The space needed to introduce the greater university population to the physics community and showcase science education in the best possible way.

Interior Designer: Valerie Gow, ARIDO
Design Firm: Gow Hastings Architects
Photographer: Tom Arban

The interior design team responded with a complete reimagining of the space, incorporating the latest in collaborative technologies, styled in a sleek new visual identity that, topically, draws from quantum physics. In crafting its visual identity, the design team was inspired by the Davisson-Germer’s experiment, which confirmed that particles of matter can have wave-like properties – a major advancement in the development of quantum mechanics.

In its new form, the McLennan Physical Laboratories project becomes a hive of activity, and a site for greater student engagement. Visually, the vivid colour palette, in a previously monochromatic environment, has become strong brand marker for the department.

At the heart of the new space is the Physics Cafe – a vibrant work/study area with a multi-use video wall, full-height writable wall surfaces, and a felt-wrapped column for posting notices. A feature ceiling below the existing exposed concrete gives the space a more intimate feel. Oversized ottomans can be moved into clusters or rolled away for breakout discussions. Acoustic drywall, rubber flooring, and plaster ceiling tiles all dampen sound for a quieter study environment. Vertical bands of transparent coloured film add a liveliness to the space, while providing privacy for students at work; and are inspired by the particle wave interference of the Davisson-Germer experiment.

New teaching labs facilitate collaborative learning with informal breakout spaces, smart boards, and writable wall surfaces – all encouraging student interaction. A foldable partition allows a classroom to expand and contract as needed, while Corian surfaces ensure durability. The waiting and study spaces that line the corridors now feature seating alcoves for individual students or small groups. Plug-in points for charging devices help make this a good spot to stay and work; pin boards and well-lit chalkboards encourage the sharing of ideas and information.

The medicine wheel is a motif in the design of this Health Centre

The Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre is a hospital built in Sioux Lookout in 2012, and serves a population spread over a large geographical area. Health Centre clients come from 29 First Nations communities spread across Northern Ontario, as well as Sioux Lookout, where there is a non‐Indigenous population with its own rich culture.

Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre
Interior Designer: Taeko Rhodes, ARIDO
Design Team: Ena Kenny, ARIDO
Design Firm: Stantec Architecture
Project Joint Venture: Douglas Cardinal, Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc
Project Photographer: Richard Johnson

Menoyawin is an Anishinaabe word that connotes health, wellness, well-being and individual spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wholeness.

With a First Nations associate architect guiding the design team, many important aspects of Indigenous culture were incorporated in the planning and design of the facility. The principal concept behind the master plan was a circular path, 350 meters in diameter, cut through the forest and providing access to each building on the campus.

This path is a representation of the Medicine Wheel, a concept shared by many Indigenous cultures, that signifies the importance of appreciation and respecting the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of all things.

Within that framework, the objective of the interior design of the facility was to create an integrated healing environment, that would blend First Nations culture with the surrounding environment. Symbols of the primordial elements, earth, fire, air and water, are represented throughout the whole centre.

Tall timber columns and beams welcome everyone into the health centre with a large octagonal skylight at the centre.

The main gathering space is a heavy timber structure, oriented east, towards sunrise. Sunlight fills the space through a large octagonal skylight, and below, a central ‘fireplace’ built in tempered glass, lit with LEDs, and circled by red pipestone. A traditional sunburst pattern, created in epoxy terrazzo circles the pipestone on the ground, while a black granite waterfall next to the recalls an element that is vital to all living things, and provides a soft burbling sound.

A Ceremonial Room was built for First Nations ceremonies and healing and repeats the important wheel shape, with an actual earth firepit, bordered by natural stone and walls clad in cedar.

Cedar lines the walls and floors of the octagonal ceremonial room with an earth firepit at its centre.

The canoe‐shaped Ambulatory Lobby is built in structural timber with a clerestory window, flooding the space with natural light, while underfoot, a flooring pattern suggests the movement of water.

Throughout the inpatient wing, long walls of windows provide views to a series of landscaped courtyards, further reducing the institutional image. The circular pattern of the Medicine Wheel is also present in the cubicle curtains and floor pattern throughout the hospital as a metaphor of healing.

Landscaped interior courtyard with winding paved paths, and rock and evergreen gardens.

By incorporating symbols from Indigenous culture like the Medicine Wheel and the four elements into the design, the hospital resonates with patients and the greater community as a healing place. The architecture and the interior design successfully bridge the gaps between Indigenous and non‐native cultures.

1 SLMHC Website

Connectivity, evolution of radio and employee engagement informed the design of this radio floor

With radio and communications innovation being a foundational characteristic of their company, the client continued to think outside the box when relocating their radio studios to the second floor of their Bloor Street location. The space bridges the gap between two campus buildings and combines three functions: radio studios, workspace and an employee cafe.

Open employee cafeteria space with pale wood floors and a accent wall with company history.

Interior Designer: Laura Jones, ARIDO
Design Team: Adriana Pietropaolo, ARIDO; Sharon Turner, ARIDO
Design Firm: HOK
Project Photographer: Tom Arban, Karl Hiplolito

The design team created an isolated raised floor system that protects against vibrations from the TTC route located below, and exterior wall and window treatments mute day-to-day sounds of the surrounding urban environment. Two high-tech radio studios are positioned as focal points in the space, inspiring interaction while still providing necessary privacy for radio talent with tinted windows. The adjacent agile workspace is designed to support a 24-hour work day for employees.

The cafe space is designed as a connecting boulevard with the café on one side, and the studios on the other, continuously inviting and engaging its users. With an acoustic operable wall, the centre performance lounge lends itself to performances that can be broadcast via the studios or opened to the cafe for a public performance. Neutral, fresh and contemporary architectural finishes were selected to accentuate the public-facing radio studios and additional acoustic elements were incorporated into this vibrant space.

The new staircase connects the ground floor to the second floor, something the client requested specifically, enhancing and facilitating the user experience through the space while engaging them with a display of the company’s radio artifacts. The three spaces are tied together by repeating angular elements inspired by radio waves and the use of copper accents that recall radio batteries.

The space is used throughout the day for planned and spontaneous meetings and the renovation of the studios has provided one of the most technologically advanced radio spaces in Canada. In fulfilling the client’s needs, the designers created a lively, dynamic space that has quickly become the most popular spot on campus.