Portfolio Prep is the kick-off event of ARIDO’s Career Xpress virtual series for students. Portfolio Prep is a preparatory session to help you build confidence in your interview skills, learn the do’s and don’ts of cover letter, resume, and portfolio creation. Additionally, it provides you with practical practitioner advice and recommendations.
Join us November 17, 2021 for a panel discussion by industry professionals on their personal career paths, as well as a Q&A, and a review of the newly released ARIDO Portfolio Guide. This event will also provide an opportunity to network virtually with other ARIDO members and community partners.
Location: Remo Event Platform Date: November 17, 2021
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Registration & Networking 5:30 pm – 5:40 pm: Introduction 5:40 pm – 6:10 pm: Presentation by guest lecturer 6:10 pm – 6:40 pm: Panel Discussion – based on 5 panelists 6:40 pm – 7:00 pm: Q&A Period 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm: Networking
Registration fee: $10 ARIDO members / $20 for non-members
ARIDO is informing individuals who graduated from a non-CIDA accredited BID program prior to July 1, 2017, that December 31st, 2021 is the final deadline to qualify to apply for Intern membership with ARIDO.
Candidates who miss the December 31st deadline and wish to apply for ARIDO membership will be required to apply via ICRS (Intern Competency Review System) alternative pathway. If you graduated with a non-CIDA BID prior to 2017, we invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for ARIDO membership now.
Spread the word! Do you have former classmates or colleagues to whom this also applies? Feel free to share this information with them. ARIDO is working to ensure this message is shared as widely as possible to all eligible individuals.
The Sandbox was a result of firm-wide technology pivot that focused on developing new technology platforms to embrace the creation of the Smart City of the Future. This transformation required a rethink from a traditional design services provider into that of a lifecycle partner role (for both urban and built environments). The Sandbox’s primary purpose was to provide a community platform for like-minded technology start-ups to inspire disruptive thinking and develop new ideas that would potentially benefit all involved. The concept was to create a transformational environment in which to inspire innovation and create enhanced collaboration between both industry partners and internal users.
Interior Designer: Jane Juranek, ARIDO Design Firm: IBI Group Architects (Canada) Inc. Design Team: Michelle Haber, ARIDO; Mahsa Saeedi, ARIDO; Katie McCann, Intern ARIDO; Shana Davies, Intern ARIDO
Photographer: Ben Rahn – A-Frame Inc.
The “Phygital” shift into an immersive environment initiates with the LED entry portal and then envelops the senses into a unique black box experience. This shift provides an inspirational lens on how the user will view, and ultimately create, tools and experiences of their own. Digital equity is afforded to all participants (whether physical or remote) with the spaces agnostic design sensibility and digital twin capabilities.
The black box effect saturates all surfaces throughout by creating a dramatic backdrop for both the occupant and technology, contrasted by colour saturated “little boxes” (floating rooms), that provide both individual and group work settings. Implied courtyards between these boxes form virtual rooms out of negative space to demonstrate and test new technologies along with exploring new AR/VR environments under development throughout the space.
The Sandbox was inspired by a start-up philosophy, with goals to provide flexibility and scalability for a full-service destination unlike any other. The space consists of 3 different zones; a central communal hub, a visualization production area, and a bespoke meeting zone.
The communal hub is entirely fluid and can be used for events, guest speakers, charettes, presentations, and impromptu staff touch down as well as a co-working touch down for partners to utilize for focus work and collaboration. A variety of settings support multiple postures from respite to teamwork and are all completely technology-enabled with mobile presentation screens. The visualization development area supports AR/VR technology production, demos, and client experiences. Individual “little boxes” link the spaces and provide an inspirational reprieve for meetings or simply acoustic separation. Whether incubating a start-up partner or internal teams, the Sandbox supports all workstyles and needs in a quickly scalable design for as few as 30 core staff or as many as 200 while hosting a Community Event depending on the function.
While the groundwork to cultivate the next generation of smart buildings and infrastructure in cities is still being laid, tangible results are starting to be realized that can be quantified and further built upon. Successful technologies and building life cycle tools are being both launched into the market and incorporated into ongoing Client initiatives. The firm’s Intelligence sector’s growth has greatly benefited through an increase in collaboration with other Practice Sectors and ultimately a significant increase in market share for the Firm. The ultimate goal will be to have the Sandbox support an eco system for urban innovation. Virtual events have continued to be hosted via the Sandboxes digital twin environment successfully throughout the recent pandemic.
Other practical accomplishments also include the spaces ability to function as a Living Test Lab for new technology platforms, for which the Sandbox is developing IoT enabled programs to collect data, leverage its application and ultimately apply these learnings back into tangible value for clients whether it be a real estate decision or a user experience. The Sandbox has also created a Digital Twin of the environment which demonstrates the firm’s extensive toolbox including how we can work to inform and assist in managing the life cycle of a facility from the end-user perspective. Sensors throughout the space assist in a more bespoke behavioural user engagement of the space as well as provide extremely valuable data analytics on issues such as space utilization and effective use of environmental controls.
Another one of the Sandbox’s key tenets is to also help support the need for a climate positive approach to our urban environment. Some of the likeminded co-collaborators in this pursuit include Ontario Power Generation, The Weather Network and the Ontario Centre for Excellence all striving for a more sustainable future.
A “build it and they will come” philosophy/strategy was undertaken in terms of developing something unique within the architecture and design industry and having ultimate flexibility in its programmatic execution. The Sandbox looks to transport users into an immersive environment, starting with a shift in one’s mindset as they pass through the LED entry portal. This threshold establishes an entirely different lens on how the user will view, and ultimately create, unique ideas of their own.
The Sandbox was designed to embody the core values of the Corporation – Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. Diversity as a defining feature includes the firm’s identity, legacy, and future. These three components are key drivers that helped embody the development of new type community space where all would be welcomed and feel like equals.
The creation of an equitable, inclusive and accessible environment were part of the initial guiding principles of design undertaken from the outset of the Project. Hierarchy, formality, and structure were avoided in order to create design equity throughout all spaces.
Another key consideration was to create an inclusive culture based on merit and free of conscious or unconscious bias; a culture where everyone is encouraged to be themselves and achieve a sense of belonging.
Another one of the Sandbox’s key tenets/outcomes is to also help support the need for a climate-positive approach to our urban environment. Some of the like-minded co-collaborators in this pursuit include Ontario Power Generation, The Weather Network, and the Ontario Centre for Excellence all striving for a more sustainable future. They all share a common goal in developing a more sustainable future for us to inhabit in the built urban environment.
Project Location: Toronto, ON Project Completion Date: November 2019 Project Square Footage: 6,482
Creating a space that uniquely brings to life what a brand represents – energy, pushing boundaries, and going beyond the ordinary – without explicit over-branding was our latest challenge with a new workspace in Liberty Village.
Interior Designers: Guy Painchaud, ARIDO; Heidi Painchaud, ARIDO Design Firm: iN STUDIO Design Team: Carl Jo, Intern, ARIDO
Photographer: Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.
The central concept became a simple path – the journey, dubbed “the vortex,” a reciprocal effect of a kinetic movement or action. This concept was fitting to the essence of the brand, representing energy and thinking big, beyond the ordinary. The vortex was to be the connection point to all the various program elements – a spine to which all other members were connected. A place of movement and interaction. An ever-changing and evolving experience like a journey. This key feature envelopes the user in a three-dimensional experience through the movement of floor, wall, and ceiling elements.
The elevator lobby greets guests with a modest, almost raw environment with a key feature perforated metal wall inclusive of a simple brand message, and content screens. Directly adjacent, the ceiling and flooring guide visitors onwards to reception. A dynamic reception desk gives way to the adjacent guest pantry area. Mixtures of raw metal, butcher black wood, and lacquer surfaces create a contrast of finishes that speak to both a refined palette as well as the necessity to maintain the raw element.
Along the vortex, one can engage with the open office environment, wellness, multi-purpose and conference spaces, as well as informal booths and access water/pantry stations. The team created a unique lighting solution for the articulated space. There was not a typical ceiling area to host a patterned array of lighting, so LED channels were incorporated into the dynamic, angled moves of both the wall and floor – creating a side light / uplight to the entire corridor.
Conference spaces are self walled smaller components that are adjacent to the vortex. All contain technology that is future adaptable and is designed to be optimal to the requirement of the various team sets, along with complementary smaller meeting rooms and phone rooms.
The main staff pantry is a galley-style kitchen with links to the vortex and the main staff lounge area. It can also support events. In fact, a black box venue can house various signature events, small concerts, performances, festivities, or simple staff gatherings. A purpose-designed beverage bar with all required equipment and services is directly connected to the terrace to allow for additional festivity outdoors.
Dynamic finishes created in the vortex area continue in the open office area and ripple through the entire environment. The project was given a healthy workplace audit given the recent pandemic impact, and material cleanability, as well as hygiene-focused resources, was adapted into the work environment via inherent materiality as selected.
The brand for this client is high performance. The designer’s solution needed to exceed that bar aesthetically, functionally, financially, and creatively. All expectations were exceeded and a new bar has been set.
Project Location: Toronto, ON Project Completion Date: July 2020 Project Square Footage: 14,000 square feet
Quality, confidence and attention to detail is the bedrock of real estate developers and landlords reputation. As builders of communities, conveying a high level of professionalism and stability is critical to ensure partners and investors commit to the vision of their next project.
First Gulf had been working out of dated surroundings, which did not serve their needs as a prominent Canadian developer. It was time for a major change.
Having worked with the design team on a variety of successful residential projects, First Gulf decided it was now time to design a new workplace for their staff of 180, located in the celebrated Globe and Mail Centre which they had built.
Through a series of visioning sessions, the interior design team was able to understand the core values and design accordingly so they could be embodied in the new space. Major priorities were employee benefits, increasing visibility among teams and providing access to daylight, while attracting new team members, and aligning the visions of both First Gulf (commercial) and Great Gulf (residential), each with different mandates and leadership, and show their clients their core values as a forward-thinking leader in the development of office, mixed-use, retail, and industrial properties
The new space is a curated experience of the company’s culture, deliberate paths of travel accentuating views, quality design and provocative artwork. Staff and guests of the First Gulf office are invited into a modern office environment with traditional design cues. Natural light flows in and unobstructed panoramic views of the city acting as the backdrop. A balance of work settings for the staff, including open seating, interior offices, and non-bookable privacy rooms allows staff to not only be more visible to each other but also collaborate in more effective ways, leaving behind the former siloed work environment.
With the vision of putting the company culture on display to all who experience the new space, the design team placed their community space and lunchroom – typically hidden behind doors – at the forefront, adjacent to the reception and boardroom facility.
The hospitality lounge is a beautiful space where staff can gather and host clients for events. With a servery tucked away, a cozy built-in dining area, and small studies facing the city for quiet work, it’s a sophisticated space for both socializing and entertaining. It features a double-sided fireplace like that of a hotel lounge, as well as a curated collection of eclectic furniture. The conference rooms and boardroom along the perimeter corridor feature curved glass corners which reflect sleek city views.
The blend of materials speaks to the combined commercial and residential functions of the client with raw textures such as concrete and marble, mixed with natural woods and warm, plush tones.
To meet some of the specific brand messaging goals the design team looked to the art world. An art consultant was hired, and in partnership with the executive teams, very unique and distinctly Canadian pieces were chosen and commissioned to tell a story.
As staff and guests enter, they are greeted by a medallion-like piece by artist Joy Charbonneau who specializes in creating artwork of geological data and bathymetry to highlight features not often appreciated. Created specifically for First Gulf, the Toronto harbour was captured, showcasing what exists below the surface of the water. The piece shows how the city’s waterline has been interrupted by human intervention which also speaks to the work of the developer.
In one of the corridors and seen from inside the boardroom, more custom art can be seen; a sculpture of a life-sized buck by Robert Cram is cast in brass with mechanical air duct coils wrapped around its body, a poignant reminder of the impacts humans have on nature.
The corridor to the coat storage and bathroom is dimly lit and features a beautiful mural of a forest by Tom Fabia, ensuring every pathway is a curated journey. Undoubtedly bold, these progressive works of art start conversations, stir emotions, and help tell First Gulf’s story.
Combining a sophisticated design with provocative works of art, and innovative materials speaks well to who First Gulf is as a company now, and their promising path into the future.
To dig deeper into their true needs, the design team hosted a series of visioning sessions with their executive team, including the presidents of both First Gulf and Great Gulf, to represent the core values of each brand harmoniously in the new space.
First Gulf wanted their people and culture to be at the forefront. Their goal was for their staff to have smiles on their faces upon arrival, and guests to be welcomed right into their culture. In the new office, staff feels more connected to each other, and behave differently in their new space, which truly reflects their impressive industry status and company values.
Open seating allows staff to not only be more visible to each other but also connect in more effective ways. In the more private area of the office, the atmosphere is minimal, bright, and clean. It was important to include a mix of smaller meeting rooms and private telephone rooms to ensure people working in the office have a multitude of options.
Additional ways the firm established wellness principles, employees are offered ergonomic seats and sit-stand desks, which encourage a healthy working postures. Showers are available for staff who bike to work or exercise during their workday. The office is wheelchair accessible, includes hand-motion door openings and unisex wheelchair-accessible washrooms. An outdoor terrace invites employees to take a break from office work and enjoy sun and fresh air.
Sustainable timber construction was also incorporated via innovative new wood technologies. Each modular wall and piece of millwork was fabricated with high precision. The office building is also certified LEED Gold.
Combining a sophisticated design with provocative works of art, and innovative materials speaks to who First Gulf is as a company now, and their path into the future. The staff of 180 which included construction, leasing, administration, and marketing teams felt the difference immediately. The new office has been transformative and the staff felt the difference immediately; feeling more connected to their work and purpose in a new environment they’re proud to call home.
Project Location: Toronto, ON Project Completion Date: April 2019 Project Square Footage: 25,000
By moving away from the traditional office environment to a nimbler workplace, The Co-operators started their move westward Canadian headquarters in Regina. They endeavoured to create a healthy and human-centric workplace that is deeply connected to their long-standing values of co-operation, folklore stories, and deep-rooted Canadian history. Environmental sustainability is paramount to this organization, so the team looked to best practices from LEED and WELL standards.
The Co-operators wanted to ignite creativity, have staff engage with the brand and rich history, and provide an amazing food experience and client facing space. This required the interior design team to re-imagine how the existing aging building might be adapted to meet The Co-operators’ goals. As the first of several office re-designs across Canada, the design strategy needed to balance brand consistency along with moments that celebrate local culture and a sense of place.
The success of this project is heavily attributed to a collaborative approach with all parties at the table. Early and frequent communication with the landlord, contractors, consultants, and furniture suppliers helped to navigate the phased delivery of the building’s nine-storeys.
The design for The Co-operators’ new Regina headquarters was inspired by the co-founder’s description of the company as “an acorn that will grow into one of the greatest oak trees of the co-operative movement” by Albert Savage (LINK). Moved by this sentiment, the team imagined a design that draws influence from the natural world – in particular, the oak tree. It is also draws from three core values: foundation, collective, and enrichment.
The design team worked with the landlord to re-imagine the ineffective lobby area atrium by enlarging the ground floor and filling in the atrium of the second floor to create a large client conference space. With wellness and daylight as key drivers, the design team outlined where the landlord should add additional glazing, letting more daylight in. Building systems were reassessed and updated to increase energy efficiency and provide occupant comfort throughout.
The reception and conference areas are flanked by a curved sculptural wood wall, where ideas feed the organization. Much like the roots of the oak tree, the curved wall represents the “foundation” element. In true a co-operative spirit, the reception is a welcoming space for employees and the community alike. Rich tones, warm woods, local stone, and a fireplace give the space a feel rooted in hospitality. The embossed logo takes a softer approach to typical signage, and work from local artists are featured throughout the space, celebrating the diversity of the Regina landscape and its people.
The employees and visitors’ journey throughout the tower tie back to the oak tree with rich wood walls and a ceramic art installation in the elevator lobbies which mimics the natural growth of moss on the trunk of a tree. Perforated metal panels suspended from the elevator lobby ceilings are reminiscent of sunlight filtering through leafy canopies. The material palette combines natural local materials and textural references that draw from their deep-rooted history within Canada, coupled with contemporary finishes and features that celebrate The Co-operators’ fabled past and progressive future. Custom live-edge wood tables by Canadian furniture makers are used in the common spaces, and potash (a local Regina material) is referenced in the wall textures and graphics.
Stories of how the company was founded were translated into architectural features including: the curved wooden wall at reception and the perforated ceiling that leads from the elevator lobby to the café, which are both reminiscent of the oak tree; the wall paneling pattern suggestive of heavy tractor tires; and accessories, like apples and wheat, throughout the space that refer back to The Co-operators’ agricultural history.
The Co-operators’ folklore and history speaks to the concept of the “collective.” Inspired by the story of The Co-operators’ insurance agent who would meet with farmers on tractor tires, the team referenced this in the textured acoustic wall paneling in the meeting rooms. Wheat and apples that were once used for payment in hard times are displayed in the café. Integrated into the signage are historic and design intent plaques that highlight The Co-operators’ story and offer a curated experience to all.
Employee wellbeing was enhanced through biophilic elements such as natural wood, green walls, and plants that create a visually harmonious space, while also improving indoor air quality. The design also encourages employees to take mental and movement breaks throughout the day to connect with colleagues, as well as nature. All lighting and HVAC were upgraded and follow WELL design principles, and all employee desks are equipped with sit-stand capabilities and are placed around the perimeter of the building to ensure access to natural light.
“Enrichment” was implemented through a focus on sustainability and wellness, as well as community moments that showcase volunteer work done in the community. A ticker board in the café counts the hours that the employees have volunteered locally. The design also encourages employees to take mental and movement breaks throughout the day to connect with colleagues and nature.
The company also boasts a respectable national art collection which was incorporated into the program. Previously it was not properly displayed, and many pieces were kept in storage. The collection was incorporated into the overall program, with key moments that celebrate this incredible collection, while ensuring the pieces work in harmony with the overall design the space.
Several small floorplates required the design team to consider how to encourage staff to utilize movement throughout the building. Our solution was to create unique lobby experiences that open to a nourishment station on each floor to encourage staff to move throughout the space. Nourishment stations are flanked by large meeting rooms and allow for overflow capacity from other floors to access additional rooms with ease.
The interior design team worked to create a more inclusive space and support an increasingly neurodiverse workforce, by providing space for hypersensitive and hyposensitive individuals. Heads-down spaces are both quiet and active, and the plan hosts open and enclosed collaborative spaces. Furthermore, a custom glazing film was created to provide shielding for those within the space, while reinforcing our design concept of growth.
The Co-operators were passionate in going above and beyond local building code and embedding ‘best practices’ wherever possible. This included the addition of strobes where not necessarily required, oversized corridor widths to accommodate mobility devices, and increased use of items such as power door operators to future proof the space, while providing an equitable environment that embeds the principles of universal design. Wellness rooms were placed on each of the floor plates to encourage staff to take a private moment as needed.
To balance the high-tech nature of the employees’ daily activities, we introduced biophilic elements that evoke the feeling of nature and are calming, refreshing, and relaxing. This was addressed by incorporating natural materials, light, vegetation, and views to surrounding nature from the built environment. Natural wood, green walls and plants can be found throughout the space to improve indoor air quality and give employees a chance to connect to nature while indoors.
The finished product recognizes their past but is built with the future in mind by helping to support the health and wellbeing of its occupants. The Co-operators Group is now empowered with a robust design solution that translates their brand story throughout their office. In our client’s words, “It is now a space that we can showcase to our clients on who we truly are as an organization.”
Project Location: Regina, SK Project Completion Date: August 2020 Project Square Footage: 125, 000 square feet
The project was a renovation to an existing brick and beam building in downtown Toronto. Sobeys was looking to move their team to a space that would allow employees to collaborate in an agile and mobile work setting. The objective was to create a highly functional space to support the innovative thinking critical to Sobeys’ future, keep current with today’s trends, and anticipate the future needs of Sobeys customers. The location was specifically chosen to attract the area’s burgeoning tech community that expects all its digital needs to be met to do its best work.
Photographer: Doublespace Photography (Amanda Large & Younes Bounher)
There are three floors in total that make up the Sobeys’ Innovation Hub. Two floors of the space can combine to create a town hall meeting space with screens for graphic content. The inner portion of the floorplate is dedicated to enclosed collaboration areas that can flex to accommodate larger or smaller groups. This area also is the only space that has a dropped acoustic tile ceiling to mitigate the group acoustic level. The enclosure around the central portion is clear glass with a minimal frame to open the central block to perimeter areas when acoustic privacy is not an issue. By placing enclosed areas towards the centre of the floorplate, natural light and views are enjoyed by all.
Original building materials of brick and wood were mixed with warm textiles and dark metal details to celebrate the existing architecture and create a warm and inviting space. By wrapping the main circulation path around centralized glass enclosed meeting rooms, teams are visible to their peers and enable natural light can permeate the entire floor.
An activity based, free address environment accommodates the different needs of staff and customers. The workspace includes work points, project rooms, quiet and open collaboration zones to support introvert/extrovert behaviours, and a work café.
A big effort was made to connect the open mezzanine level to the main space to offer an “outdoor terrace” type of area to the facility. Views that look back to the brick and beam building as well as overlook the main atrium space make this area truly unique.
In collaboration with Sobeys, a user guide was developed in both a digital and print publication format as a “how to use tip sheet” for staff, visitors, and leadership to communicate the expected behaviours and practical uses of the space. Three stand-alone washrooms were added: one universal and two gender neutral. The space includes a wellness room and a prayer room with mediation pillows and mats where employees can retreat for quiet time, privacy, and respite. Lockers of various sizes priovde space for staff to keep their belongings in the office.
Furniture is adaptable and moveable, including writeable surfaces, to support collaboration and teamwork. The post and beam room system allows for future flexibility and integrates hackable components. Acoustics in collaboration areas are sensitively designed for privacy and audibility.
Sobeys is a proudly Canadian business and the design team leveraged local vendors, artist, and artisans from Toronto’s local downtown scene to add components to the space. Work of local artists, craftspeople, designers, and manufacturers was integrated into the design of the space. Custom built furniture such as a harvest table, live edge benches, a bookshelf for the prayer room, and a television console for the gaming area were designed and produced by OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design) students. Custom graphics were provided by local artists and digital artwork at the front entry was provided by Alex McCloud. Lastly, vintage furniture and light fixtures were provided by Philz 20th Century, a local vintage store in the Junction.
The final design is a true celebration of national and regional talent coming together to create a space that fosters innovation, complements culture, and will inspire talent for years to come.
Project Location: Toronto, ON Project Completion Date: Fall 2020 Project Square Footage: 19.750 square feet
We were approached by Richardson Wealth to help with the fit-up of their new space during a business and cultural shift within their organization. The wealth management firm sought a space that could support employees while being a sophisticated milieu for hosting clients.
Interior Designer: Jessica Gozdzierski, ARIDO Design Firm: IBI Group Architects (Canada) Inc. Design Team: Roxanne Van Dam, Intern, ARIDO; Daniel Brandley, Intern, ARIDO
Photographer: Ema Peter Photography
The new space is efficient and adaptable, and suit the ever-changing needs of technology and the business. Overall, the project achieved the client’s vision of a space that would allow collaboration amongst teams, address the evolving advisor-client relationship and provide an enhanced employee experience.
The need for a designated client meeting space became a high priority item for the team. We recognized that if designed properly it would launch Richardson Wealth into the forefront of their industry by providing a unique experience for clients and employees alike.
We set out to incorporate a client centre that would encompass Richardson Wealth’s brand along with the ideal number of varying types of meeting spaces, with technology seamlessly integrated.
With the client relationship and experience in mind, it also became important to us to provide an entertainment space within the Client Centre. To achieve this, we incorporated a multi-purpose meeting room that opens up to the reception space to allow for larger client events and employee town halls. The incorporation of different types of multi-purpose areas was pivotal in achieving the most efficient use of space throughout.
The client centre is welcoming, easily navigated, and provides all fundamental amenities including a designated client coffee bar, client washroom, and a catering kitchen to aid large events.
The open space also boasts several seating vignettes to ensure visitors immediately feel welcome and can meet with their financial advisor in the open area or within one of multiple meeting rooms. The largest boardroom is adjacent to the open waiting area so the moveable glass partition which separates these spaces can be raised to create an even larger event space.
With employee wellness being a top priority for Richardson Wealth, we were sure to implement various design strategies throughout the office space to capture this need. We made certain that the employee lounge/servery was placed in a very desirable spot of the floor plate. It offers employees the best views of the cityscape while also offering them various collaborative settings within to ensure communication and team building remain ongoing.
A member of the leadership team at Richardson Wealth praised the new space, saying, “We now have a modern, functional office space that is the envy of our industry in Vancouver. Staff are thrilled with our new space even though we’ve had limit capacity during the pandemic. Can’t wait to be full time in the office again.“
Project Location: Vancouver, BC Project Completion Date: September 2019 Project Square Footage: 20,000 square feet
Inspired by the theme of movement, both literally and figuratively, the interior design for the new corporate headquarters of Uber Canada evokes a sense of forward momentum. The elements of rhythm, repetition, bold lines, and contrasting details converge to reflect both Uber’s global growth and trajectory as a world-leading technology enterprise, and its drive to get people where they want to go.
Interior Designers: Peter Heys, ARIDO; Leslie Tuttle, ARIDO Design Firm: B+H Design Team: David Zhou, ARIDO; Marianna Ng, ARIDO; Inga Kantor, ARIDO; Abi Kim, Intern, ARIDO
Photographer: Doublespace Photography
In 2018, Uber sought to create a cutting-edge workspace for their new Canadian head office, located on the top five floors of a downtown Toronto office tower. Concurrently, the company was in the process of revitalizing their branding guidelines which included the development of a new ‘Playbook’ that outlined Uber’s general workplace requirements, including accessibility standards.
This blank canvas provided the opportunity to envision a new type of workplace for Uber, one that would align with the company’s refreshed brand, vision, and values, facilitate a seamless transition its staff to working in a larger, multi-floor office space, and enhance the elements stipulated in Uber’s playbook.
A key component was a robust environmental graphic design (EGD) strategy. Inspired by Uber’s culture, the interior design team selected five key values as inspiration for the space: connect, explore, surprise, play, and pause. With those values as a jumping-off point, the interior design team assigned associated colours and developed a visual language – with each level of the five floors occupied by Uber uniquely reflecting one of the values.
The majority of the EGD program takes advantage of natural places of connection: common areas, corridors, the library, the cafe, gaming spaces, etc. A key part of our design strategy was to infuse the vibrant culture of the city as an additional layer of conceptual richness. On one floor we installed a custom-illustrated wall covering that celebrates Toronto’s popular Kensington Market neighbourhood. Another celebrates the famed Distillery District.
When connection was not the primary driver, we focused on improving user experience. In dark, narrow corridors we strategically placed a vibrant, textured wall covered with bright, hand-lettered, neon LED typography to transform a dim, transient space into a playful, engaging portal.
Uber’s offices encompass floors 12-17, yet reception is smack in the middle on the 16th floor, which had the potential to confuse first time visitors. When a visitor steps off the elevator on the 16th floor, a motion sensor catches their movement and triggers multi-stage lighting, which guides them to the reception desk. This reassures any new visitor that they are in the right place.
Not only is the lighting an efficient wayfinding tool, this installation can be programmed for special events and observances, which could include Pride Month, Indigenous Heritage Month, Black History Month, etc.
The design also features a multipurpose wellness room, envisioned to be used by Uber employees for a broad range of wellness-oriented activities which may include exercise/yoga classes or individual sessions, meditation, prayer, or simply as an area to rest and recharge. The design also incorporates a mother’s nursing room, providing Uber staff with a private, comfortable, and dignified setting for nursing mothers.
Biophilic strategies and elements are woven throughout the design to imbue the office with a sense of connection to nature and greenery – highlighting the project’s unique proximity to Toronto’s picturesque Don Valley. Various plant species were incorporated throughout the office floors through the custom shelving as well as through terrace plantings which are visible from the office interiors.
Folding partition systems embed flexibility into the space, allowing for specific rooms to be opened to adjacent space for enlarged team meetings and events, or closed for privacy as required. Writeable surfaces within the walls so that natural light and function is present. This wall is also able to incorporate technology including power, sound and display directly into the folding wall, should this be a consideration for Uber in the future.
Project Location: Toronto, ON Project Completion Date: August 2019 Project Square Footage: 80, 000 square feet
As a business unit within a large Canadian toy company, the client wanted a space to attract top talent and convey refined talent of the artists, writers, actors, and producers that their business employs. The design strategy consisted of using a co-create process to evolve the design in an iterative manner, ensuring team diversity, input equity, and an inclusive approach to all stakeholders regardless of rank and file.
Weekly brainstorm sessions between the client and design teams let everyone involved have a voice in the process ensuring their brand and work to shine.
The new space unfolds like a story narrative – reflecting the work processes of the end-user. An Art Deco inspired wood trimmed lobby, entry marquee, burgundy “red” carpet, and gold vitrine decal signage hint that creatives live here. Going from dark to light through space, the art studio itself is flooded with daylight and accented with soft finishes: the artwork pops and remains centre stage. X’s and O’s lighting harken back to simple childhood games and offer a reminder of the studio’s target audience.
The design team leveraged our world-class research and data gathering tools (vision session, surveys, and interviews), to identify the right ratio of work settings. A thoughtful mix of meeting spaces – varying sizes, casual to formal, enclosed to semi-private to open, stand-up or sit-down – combined with individual work settings ensure individuals can get down to work. Common areas strategically placed directly off reception and away from focused work allow for uproarious laughter and casual collaboration.
Every part of the office design provides the tools needed to collaborate across disciplines: digital technology, whiteboards, blackboards, pin-up space, inspirational content library (like books, magazines, and toys), blank canvases, gallery walls, brainstorm and audio production studios, and p-board storage.
The production studio for voice talent was a key component that needed to be placed strategically and noisy base building systems were re-routed to ensure sound quality. The design team engaged audio acoustic specialists to deliver this component.
Open ceilings were strategically located to help conceal the Class B building air distribution system revealing a flawless open effect. Exposed columns we kept clear of visually distracting services distribution. Staggered tendering, pre-ordering, and strategic reuse were used to meet the budget and even tighter schedule.
Appropriate separation between heads-down focus work and collaborative work ensures the employees’ productive capital can be maximized, along with their enjoyment of the space. The entry sequence progresses from active zones, transitioning into the quieter design studios where creative concentrated work occurs.
Staff have many options when they want to engage with others, and an on-floor café provides ample opportunity for impromptu conversations. The children’s book library offers creators an area to disconnect from the digital world and get inspired by illustrated adventures. Digital content is also available through the space for visitors to preview new animated shows – and old classics – when the need to be transported away to another world strikes.
The space meets LEED Certified standards wellness was carefully considered, with access to daylight, quiet reflection spaces, and the inclusion of a lush plant program that was the top employee-requested feature. Greenery throughout provides a soft biophilic element.
Project Location: Toronto, ON Project Completion Date: July 2019 Project Square Footage: 19,605 square feet