A holistic design approach that goes beyond accessibility

When LWG was approached to design the headquarters for the Canadian Federal Government’s headquarters for Accessibility Standards Canada in Gatineau QC, we started a journey of discovery about what it means to exceed the basic requirements of universal design principles.

Interior Designer: Bryan Wiens, ARIDO

Design Team: Emilie Gautier

Design Firm: LWG

Photographer: Kevin Belanger

We were focused on delivering a design solution that integrates a holistic approach to accessibility in a way that dignifies users and democratizes space, within an activity based workplace methodology.

Some key elements that were taken into consideration included materiality (resilient flooring for better mobility), colours, and contrast (visual cues to help with navigation and wayfinding through space) and integration of technology.

The incorporation of individually controlled overhead lighting at every desk was one key design criteria that the client demanded and was elegantly achieved through collaboration with local lighting agency WSA.

In addition, considerations for acoustical solutions to offset the open high ceilings and resilient flooring provided opportunities to introduce suspended ceiling elements that serve to control sound and provide visual cues to indicate the zoning of different areas which are defined by activity.

Credit should be given to LWG Interior Designer Emilie Gautier, who took the lead on this project with guidance by LWG Principal Bryan Wiens.