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Best Offices Ottawa is a celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region. This year’s edition is supported by 10 firms from a variety of industries, including architecture, interior design and engineering, among others. Their stories are contained on the following pages.

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CONTENTS

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HOK

Federal government’s coworking space

at Place d’Orléans heralds a new way to work

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IDEA

Collaboration on Canada Green Building Council fitup cements lasting partnership between IDEA and Cole + Associates

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NUA Office Inc.

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Atkinson Schroeter Design Group

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MNP

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Ruhland & Associates

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IMI – A Global People Company

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Cleland Jardine Engineering Ltd.

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[In]tempo design studio

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LWG Architectural Interiors

Customizable design elements enable Mercury Filmworks’ ongoing growth Canadian Real Estate Association creates a new sense of community Professional services firm makes its mark inside historic Hintonburg building World Exchange Plaza courtyard creates a lasting impact on Ottawa’s downtown core Westboro expansion reflects ethos of growing organization Team-focused philosophy inspires edgy, industrial-chic new look New Excel HR workspace balances openness with privacy New Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement space centred on sustainability

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HOK

‘Reimagining how we work’

“People feel comfortable and calm in a space that emanates nature” – LYNN FERRON, PRINCIPAL AND PRACTICE LEADER, HOK OTTAWA

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PROGRESSIVELY DESIGNED BY HOK OTTAWA, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S NEW COWORKING SPACE AT PLACE D’ORLÉANS HERALDS A NEW WAY TO WORK

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onia Powell and Lynn Ferron maintain professional demeanors but their shared excitement frequently bubbles through as they lead a tour of the nearly brand new federal government co-working space at the Place d’Orléans Centre. It’s not that they’re showing off a newly renovated home to friends, but the tour feels somewhat like that, and for good reason. Powell, the director-general of workplace solutions at Public Services and Procurement Canada, has led the recent installation of five such co-working spaces for federal employees in the National Capital Region. This one is on her home turf, however. She lives in Orléans and is herself a satisfied user of the new drop-in style co-working space. These convenient and ultra-comfortable facilities offer closer-to-home alternatives that can help nearby federal employees avoid rush hour, be productive during snowstorms, or simply refresh themselves in an experience that’s a kind of midpoint between working in the office and working from home. “We knew that there were no federal government offices in Orléans,” said Powell. “So when we were selecting the locations, this was one of the top candidates. It’s proven to have been a good choice.” The space opened in September and early usage stats confirm that good choice. “We just recently marked our first 1,000 users,” Powell said. Continues on next page

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Continued from previous page Ferron was no doubt happy to be part of that celebration. She is a principal and practice leader at the Ottawa office of HOK, the international architectural design firm that brought the space to life. HOK is a global entity with 24 offices across three continents. The firm was selected for the job chiefly because of an extensive track record in these types of design challenges in Ottawa and beyond. Local clients include the RCMP, Canada Revenue Agency, Algonquin College, Canadian Blood Services, Adobe, Accenture and Carleton University. “HOK is one of the leaders in this innovative design,” said Powell. “It was really important for us to work with somebody who had done it before and had done it successfully.” Ferron was deeply involved in the process alongside HOK’s lead designer on the project, Christian

Cruz and design support, Soha Ebadi. DESIGN FOR HUMAN NEEDS Leading the list of requirements was the need to create a space in which a variety of people could feel comfortable and in a range of situations, alone or in groups. HOK has had plenty of success on that front. “We design human-centric spaces that enable people to feel at ease and empower them with choice, options and movement,” explained Ferron. When showing off one of the three-seat presentation areas in the Place d’Orléans space, Ferron noted how it has been shaped to spur co-creation and break from conventional norms. “It’s no longer somebody with a microphone and a PowerPoint dictating to the people in a meeting,” said Ferron. “There’s still a screen on the wall, but participants are all encouraged to partake, share their ideas via writing on the walls,

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posting thoughts or sharing ideas electronically. Everybody’s getting involved and ideas are being shared, so the space supports a much different way of working.” Enabling new and different ways of working is the core idea driving all the new federal government co-working spaces in the region and elsewhere in Canada. “We’re really trying to reimagine how we work,” said Powell. “For us, the long-term vision would be for public servants to be able to work anywhere, anytime, collaborate with anyone, on any device.” On a small scale, the co-working space at Place d’Orléans – which will be connected to the city’s light-rail line in the coming years – almost makes that vision possible today. The wide range of environments include a “touchdown” area featuring spacious desks where users can sit or stand with laptops (all desks in the space, in fact, can be raised to a standing height), meeting rooms with upright seating for groups of four, a conventional board room, and futuristic “Focus Pod” seating that’s cocoon-like and includes ottomans that can be pulled out for greater relaxation. 2020

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In addition to individual comfort, ample opportunity for collaboration is a key objective across the co-working space initiative, noted Powell. “They’re interdepartmental shared spaces, if you will,” she added. “For us, this is the

vision of working in the future, where more and more departments have the ability to come together.” To set the stage for that free-flowing vision, Ferron and colleagues drew on their experiences of putting human needs first. “We believe in the power of design. We ensure environments are designed to be inclusive to all and address neurodiversity and wellbeing,” said Ferron. “People feel comfortable and calm in a space that has a colour palette and materials that emanate nature.” There’s also a large, open communal kitchen that itself inspires a homey feeling and the possibility for new conversations. “We’re providing a much better environment,” said Powell. “You’ll see people working away and meeting, but you don’t hear it. It’s a very calming work environment and that’s one of the advantages of designing space in this way.” The government’s additional four coworking spaces in the region are located downtown at L’Esplanade Laurier, on River Road near the airport, on Legget Drive in Kanata and on De La Cité Boulevard in Gatineau. BEST OFFICES OTTAWA 7

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IDEA

Architecture-engineering merger leads to innovative, sustainable designs COLLABORATION ON CANADA GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL FITUP CEMENTS LASTING PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN IDEA AND COLE + ASSOCIATES

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hrowing a party at someone else’s office is unusual – unless you’re celebrating the merger of the two companies that designed it. This was the case with COLE + Associates Architects, which merged with IDEA while the two firms were working on the design and refit of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)’s national office. In January 2020, COLE + Associates adopted the name IDEA, an acronym for integrated design, engineering and architecture. Both CaGBC and IDEA were proud of the finished space, which is aiming to achieve high certifications with a LEED Gold status as well as a WELL Platinum rating. When IDEA and COLE + Associates wanted to celebrate their merger in June, CaGBC’s office at 100 Murray St. was the obvious location. It not only showcased their sustainable design expertise, but

its rooftop terrace was ideal for a party. “From an architecture-engineering perspective, it’s a real honour to have been selected to do that design,” said David Cole, senior architect and partner emeritus at IDEA. “Everybody in Canada likes to work on important buildings for important clients and it was a feather in our cap.” EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING CaGBC previously occupied a small office in the ByWard Market, but when its large conference room had six desks in it, the nonprofit knew it needed more space. CaGBC’s mission is to promote healthy green buildings throughout Canada, so its new office space had to be in a LEED-certified building that demonstrated environmentally responsible design, construction and operation. The organization found it a block

away in the first Zero Carbon building in Ottawa. CaGBC leased the space on the fourth floor. “We really wanted something that would focus on the health and well-being of our employees,” said Peter Whitred, senior manager of green building programs at CaGBC. “We wanted a bright, accessible, open environment, with good indoor air quality, sound level and light quality.” The organization also needed an architectural team experienced in LEED fitups that could make the space WELL certified, a designation for healthy office designs. IDEA had the required expertise. When they saw the new office space, the IDEA team was wowed by its potential. Huge northwest and south-facing windows overlooked the Market and had great views of the Peace Tower, Château Laurier and Gatineau Hills across the river. The walkout rooftop deck offered opportunities for summertime coffee breaks and office gatherings.

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However, the previous tenants had divided the space into offices and cubicles not configured to take optimum advantage of the windows. “The space already had fantastic natural attributes with all the windows and natural light,” said Dino Di Sano, studio director of architecture and lead architect on the project. “We were looking to get as many people as we could next to the windows.” Di Sano and the team opened up the space. They leveraged some of the existing construction by keeping the lunch room, meeting room and enclosed offices, but cleared out the dividing walls and cubicles. This created bright, open-concept spaces for trendy open desks with low glass walls. The architect team grouped modern sage green and blue armchairs to provide meeting areas and collaborative workspaces for employees and clients. They tied the office’s grey, green and blue accent walls together with a dramatic zigzag patterned green and grey carpeting. They made the large boardroom – with its spectacular wall of windows and its glass ceiling – a focal point. 2020

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LEED CERTIFICATION To facilitate the LEED certification, IDEA – working with Integral Group – upgraded the heating, cooling and electrical systems, used low-flow water fixtures, ran LED lighting throughout the space and installed sound-absorbing materials on

the walls. It was also an opportunity for suppliers to showcase their newest sustainable and energy-efficient products. The furniture, paint and carpets all met strict sustainability and end-of-life recycling standards. Continues on next page

The IDEA leadership team includes, from left, Franco Pastore, Kenneth Oliver, David Cole and Ryan Crowle. Absent: Jeanette Biemann. BEST OFFICES OTTAWA 9

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“It is one of the nicest office spaces in Ottawa.” – DAVID COLE, SENIOR ARCHITECT AND PARTNER EMERITUS, IDEA

Continued from previous page “We’re doing everything we can to minimize the impact on the environment as a whole, while ensuring we have a positive impact on employees,” said Whitred. Di Sano likens LEED to the difference between buying regular vegetables and organic. It can be more costly up front, but energy savings and the benefits to employees’ health and well-being are ultimately cost savings. “It is one of the nicest office spaces in Ottawa,” said Cole. “It uses materials

that are highly touted in the industry as showcasing sustainability, which is becoming more and more important.” Cole is proud of the work his firm has accomplished not only at the CaGBC, but with major projects across Ottawa in commercial and government buildings, offices and residences. His history with the architectural firm dates back to 1986 when it was known as Helmer Stranks Cole Architects. The firm became COLE + Associates Architects in 1990 when the other two partners retired. Twenty-nine years later, Cole started considering his own retirement. The timing was right. IDEA, an architecture-engineering firm from Sault Ste. Marie, was interested in expanding to Ottawa. “IDEA came with integrated engineering, which worked well in their market, and down here was only done by really big firms,”said Di Sano. With combined architecture and engineering capabilities, the firm will continue delivering quality architectural design but with expanded resources and engineering services. The merger was the best IDEA.

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“We really wanted something that would focus on the health and well-being of our employees.” – PETER WHITRED, SENIOR MANAGER OF GREEN BUILDING PROGRAMS, CANADA GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL

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NUA OFFICE INC.

Beyond the walls NUA OFFICE INC. EQUIPS MERCURY FILMWORKS WITH CUSTOMIZABLE DESIGN ELEMENTS, ENABLING ANIMATION STUDIO TO EVOLVE WITH COMPANY’S GROWTH Tucked just off Baseline Road, Mercury Filmworks’ new headquarters displays both a restrained professionalism as well as the wild creativity that’s driven the animation powerhouse for more than two decades. Now housed on three floors in the Qualicum Centre, Mercury’s office features black and white walls and carpeting that’s punctuated by bursts of colour and creativity. The company’s award-winning animations are slowly taking over the office, with drawings, cardboard cutouts as well as film and TV posters scattered throughout. That ability for Mercury’s office environment to constantly change with the company is exactly what founder and CEO

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Clint Eland wanted when he first started thinking about the design two years ago. But at the time, he didn’t know how to express it. In furniture distributor NUA Office Inc., he found a partner that could bring his dreams of a sleek, modern but changeable, customizable office to life after finding himself taken by one of its most cutting-edge products, Allsteel’s Beyond moveable wall system. The Beyond system is the chameleon of the office furniture game, a shapeshifter that can completely change its appearance at a

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moment’s notice. Its functionality reflected the very nature of Mercury – constantly changing and adapting. The customizable design means the walls can be easily adjusted to meet Mercury’s growth as well as the desires of the company’s nearly 300 employees. Eland said the ability to change the office layout as the company evolves was a key consideration in opting for the Beyond system, a decision that was only made after conversations with NUA about exactly what he

wanted in a new office, and a visit to Allsteel’s showroom in Chicago to see it in action. Just like the entirety of Mercury’s headquarters, the Beyond wall system is sleek and understated with a creative twist. The huge glass sliding doors flood the offices with natural light, while black frames fashioned to look like movie strips give a casual nod to Mercury’s work. Paired with the muted colours of the walls themselves, they give the Mercury office the “blank canvas” look Eland desired. Continues on next page

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Continued from previous page “They are a modular wall system so you can reconfigure them, and even though they look fairly solid you can be moving pieces around very quickly. You can reconfigure an office inside one day,” Eland said. “One of the other things that drew us to the system is that unlike a traditional dry wall they have a metallic skin to them so we’re able to use these walls as sort of a living gallery board.” STARTING A TREND Created by NUA founder Eberhard Von Huene and licensed to Allsteel, Beyond is an adaptable, unitized wall system that gives offices an open, connected feel while still allowing for space to conduct confidential conversations and meetings. The combination of a high-profile client such as Mercury and a large installation easily makes this project one of NUA’s most prominent projects, and principal Robert Hill hopes its long-term cost effectiveness and environmental benefits means plenty of other companies will follow suit. “Saving both money and the environment is more than a trend – it’s a movement,” Hill said. In addition to the NUA-supplied walls, Mercury also purchased approximately 250 Allsteel workstations as well as office chairs and other pieces including meeting tables and lounges. The Stride workstations clustered around the office are stylish and elegant, with clean lines and colourful dividers. Each work area provides seating for six to eight employees and is supported by large white beams, meaning there’s no need for supports underneath. Eland began the office design process with a rough concept in mind but hadn’t settled on a particular layout or furnishings. He said he quickly identified NUA as “a company that would be able to help us with our transition.” “NUA spent a great deal of time having us verbalize who we are and what we wanted so there’s a big discovery period for them, which turned into a discovery period for us,” Eland said. “We knew we had to move but we didn’t know exactly what we wanted so in that interaction there was a lot of prodding and questions that I think we both benefited from.” Hill said working with his clients to define their identity, culture and what they wanted to become was a key part of NUA’s process to fit out a work environment, and the Mercury project showed the results that could be achieved. “Everyone has furniture, but we’re a consulting partner. The value that we provide happens long before anyone wants pricing on furniture.” 2020

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THE BROADER TEAM The fit-up of Mercury Filmworks’ Ottawa office involved the collaboration of several contractors and professional service firms that made the project a success:

“The status quo was no longer acceptable. Beyond offers a high degree of flexibility while maintaining high sound ratings and superior aesthetics.” – EBERHARD VON HUENE, FOUNDER, NUA

“The Mercury office had two distinct design needs: Creating a fully functional office and studio space for their growing team while fostering a highly creative, energetic and collaborative work environment. Integrating design elements that strayed from the ‘norm’ was key to the success of the project.” – ROBIN PEIXOTO, PRINCIPAL, PARALLEL45 DESIGN GROUP

“Mercury Filmworks’ space is not only functional, but also showcases the creativity of this homegrown success story.” – RYAN BARRESI, VICE-PRESIDENT, CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD

“If you are thinking of using truly movable walls on your next project, Beyond is a great system to consider. We’ve really enjoyed working closely with the NUA team. We appreciated the knowledge, expertise and dedication throughout the project. It was a great experience.” – RAY LICARI, VICE-PRESIDENT, BASSI CONSTRUCTION LP

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ATKINSON SCHROETER DESIGN GROUP

The office village ATKINSON SCHROETER DESIGN GROUP CREATES A NEW SENSE OF COMMUNITY FOR CANADIAN REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION

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ew visitors to the Catherine Street offices of the Canadian Real Estate Association would ever guess the building’s origins. With its modern furniture, glass detailing and open-concept design, the office reflects the collaborative, open-door culture the organization prides itself on. Atkinson Schroeter Design Group recently helped CREA update and modernize its office, skillfully and creatively working around the structure’s initial use in the 1980s as a parking garage. It’s a building that ASDG is intimately familiar with, having designed CREA’s offices some 15 years earlier. The end result of the

two-year redesign was an attractive and highly effective space that makes employees feel at home, as well as new layouts that foster togetherness and collaboration while giving CREA the flexibility to expand its operations. “We’re in competition with other employers, and the work environment and how the office feels is a huge factor,” says CREA chief executive Michael Bourque. “We wanted the space to feel comfortable and inviting. That’s exactly what we got.” CREATING A COMMUNITY The previous office design, which was completed under Atkinson Design Group, featured office elements that were popular in the 2000s, such as dark wood detailing and high-paneled enclosed workstations that gave the office a dark, maze-like feel, says Sonja Schroeter, lead designer and principal at ASDG. In recent years, however, there’s been

a shift to including more shared spaces, collaborative work areas and open workstations within the office environment. This meant the previous design was no

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longer optimal for CREA’s operations, says Schroeter, who took over the interior design company in 2010. Continues on next page 2020

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“A community needs spaces for people to meet, interact...and grow together.” – SONJA SCHROETER, LEAD DESIGNER AND PRINCIPAL, ASDG

Continued from previous page “The design of CREA’s office 15 years ago was based on a different office space model, which was to give people as much workspace and privacy as possible,” she says. “Since then, there has been a cultural shift in how people are working, so it’s gratifying that CREA asked us to come back and create this new work environment. It’s a huge compliment.” With five floors to redesign, Schroeter pitched the idea of creating an office environment that played off of a concept which she dubbed “the village.” “An office is similar to that of a village – it’s a community. The community needs spaces for people to meet, interact, share their time and ideas, share a common goal and grow together as a corporate family,” she says. Conceptualizing the reception area as a community centre, the aisles as connecting streets, the lunchroom as a local cafe and the employee’s workspaces as their “homes” helped 18 BEST OFFICES OTTAWA

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inspire Schroeter’s vision. The office redesign also prioritized giving employees access to natural light, which was previously lost to large offices and cubicles. The ASDG team reconfigured the floor plans to include windows in the kitchen and meeting rooms to enable employees to enjoy the communal spaces. They also relocated and expanded the main boardroom space, which now opens up to the reception area with pivoting glass doors to create a more open, collaborative meeting place. “We didn’t really have meeting rooms or places for people to gather before,” says Debra Cowan, CREA’s chief financial officer and design lead for the office team. “Now we have a board room and offices, and even phone booths so people can go and have quiet conversations.” Combined with small seating areas incorporated throughout the five floors, the office now has ample meeting space. NEW REAL ESTATE One of the biggest changes was replacing the old cubicle walls with lower units topped with frosted glass for easier communication. This gives the office a brighter look and opened up work areas for increased collaboration. “It felt really closed off before, but now I can turn around and my coworker and manager are 2020

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right there,” says Matt Day, a communications advisor at CREA. “Everyone also has a standing desk option, which we use a lot because it makes meetings and brainstorming quicker. It helps us to be more creative and get excited about our ideas.” CREA was also able to take advantage of the previously unoccupied building basement, turning it into an all-hands meeting space. With the help of Schroeter and her team, CREA created a special projects space and innovation lab, which houses employees working on technical prototypes for the association, such as

voice-controlled website applications. The lab mirrors the clean, modern design of the other floors, with pops of green and teal adding colour to the industrial-style space. As the CREA team continues to settle into its new space, Cowan says they still marvel at the changes ASDG made to the office and how well the interior reflects the culture within the organization. “I love coming into the office every day – it’s just where we all want to be,” she adds. “It’s casual yet functional. It really checks all the boxes.” BEST OFFICES OTTAWA 19

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MNP

Formality meets creativity MNP MAKES ITS MARK INSIDE HISTORIC HINTONBURG BUILDING

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ith its A-shaped frame, white brick walls and rows of large windows, MNP’s new office is far from conventional. The heritage building the business and technology firm now calls home was built in 1925 and was originally used for wire cloth manufacturing. But while the exterior may provide a glimpse into the past, the inside of the team’s new workspace was constructed with the future in mind. “We were looking for something different,” says Sean Murphy, regional managing partner 20 BEST OFFICES OTTAWA

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at MNP. “When I saw this space I thought ‘Wow! We can do a lot of really cool things with this space.” While MNP’s Carling office remained business as usual, the company had outgrown its Kanata location. Murphy says he set out searching for a place that could accommodate the company’s size and vision. MNP is expanding beyond its accounting roots to offer more digital and consulting services to clients, which means the staff is made up of a diverse group of corporate staff and developers. It can be difficult to design a space with both of their needs in mind, says Murphy, but the office at 7 Hinton Ave. near the Parkdale Market does just that. RETHINKING TRADITIONAL There are two distinct sides of the firm’s office that Murphy distinguishes as “traditional” and “creative.” Visitors to MNP’s office enter an openconcept reception area that flows towards glass enclosed meeting rooms, all of which are named after famous scientists, discoverers and inventors such as Tesla and Hawking. Beyond those rooms lies the traditional side of the office: a bright white open space, divided into individual workstations and private offices. Despite functioning as a customary office, Murphy says it was important to maintain aspects of the building’s industrial feel. Both the traditional and creative sides of the workplace feature grey concrete floors, tall ceilings and suspended lighting that add to the unique design. When redesigning the space, Murphy says he wanted every room to have multiple functions, optimizing the office’s vast square footage. The large open concept kitchen area acts as a divider between the traditional and the creative spaces, and features its own distinct work areas. “We’ve built a large kitchen that we can actually do stuff in,” says Murphy. “The kitchen is a social space for us. It gives us a chance to engage with the entire team at the sushi table island, or enjoy a game of pool.” Inside the kitchen is a bright blue wall, dotted with the painted handprints of MNP employees. It’s called a “ritual wall” and was a staple in the previous A Hundred Answers office space. New employees would add their handprints upon joining the team, making their mark on the company, explains Murphy. Since they couldn’t physically bring the old wall with them, they transplanted it as an image into the new space. Continues on next page 2020

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“I want people to feel like this place is theirs.” – SEAN MURPHY, REGIONAL MANAGING PARTNER, MNP

Continued from previous page To help welcome employees and guests to the new office, Murphy and the MNP team set out to create a new ritual wall, reflective of the company’s growth and creativity. Situated in the lobby is a bright green DNA strand made of lights stretching the length of the wall. Eventually, every employee will add their name and location to the strand, which will then be paired with a short video segment highlighting the staff and giving them a voice and contribution to the company. “I want people to feel like this place

is theirs,” he says. “That’s the strength of the culture that we are trying to bring to the table.” BUILDING CREATIVE SPACE Beyond the kitchen is where Murphy’s vision came to life. The previous office tenant, Fuel Industries, left the vast warehouse-like space as a blank canvas for MNP to fill. There were already brightly coloured, glass-enclosed meeting rooms lining the perimeter office, which minimized the amount of fitups required. The “digital hub” portion of the office is completely open-concept which allows

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for a lot of collaboration and brainstorming. MNP added in several “huddle spaces” – appropriately named Eureka, Gadzooks and AHA – that are filled with couches, graphiccovered walls and whiteboards for more informal meetings and projects. “With the open space and work rooms, you see everyone, everyday,” says Chris Harris, manager of consulting and technical solutions at MNP. “There are always people huddling or going off and having a quick conversation. Before, we would always have to go into someone’s office.” A lot of thought went into the functionality of the space, which is evident in the company’s ability to accommodate different work schedules, says Harris, who works nontraditional hours to optimize his commute. A large portion of MNP employees still live in the Kanata area, so moving the office to central Ottawa – while closer to many of their clients – was not everyone’s first choice. Murphy says they tried to take into consideration how they could make that transition easier on their employees. “One of the philosophies that MNP has is that we aren’t going to make you worse off,” he says. “If you didn’t have to pay to park in Kanata we aren’t going to make you pay to park here, so we pay for parking in a variety of lots for our employees.” To celebrate the company’s move to its new office, MNP hosted an open house in October that brought together MNP employees and members of the business community to check out the new space. The cocktail hour was catered by Thyme & Again, another local company in the area. “We are now integrated and developing relationships with local businesses,” says Harris. “We even did a scavenger hunt with the neighbourhood shops to have our people become more familiar with them. It’s important to build those connections.” The company has also reached out to local charities in the area, such as the Parkdale Food Centre, to see how it can continue its charity involvement at the new office, he adds. As the firm continues to settle into its new home, Murphy says he is looking forward to continuing to develop the space to reflect the nature of the company’s diverse workplace culture. “There’s definitely an aspect of formality involved, but I didn’t want to lose the fun and quirky kind of stuff that you might see. If a Nerf gun war broke out, it wouldn’t be out of context,” he jokes. “We feel like we’re bringing in that mix of business and fun.” 2020

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RUHLAND & ASSOCIATES

An outdoor office extension RUHLAND & ASSOCIATES LEAVES LASTING IMPACT ON OTTAWA’S DOWNTOWN CORE WITH WORLD EXCHANGE PLAZA COURTYARD

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or more than 30 years, Marietta Ruhland has worked towards one goal: Making the city a more beautiful place. The landscape architect works with exterior spaces, striving to bring nature back into urban areas such as the downtown core. One well-known spot is the amphitheatre outside the World Exchange Plaza, a space designed in 1995 by the Perez team, which included Marietta Ruhland as lead landscape architect. The space they designed has maintained its natural look and feel, and has served as a community meeting place for more than two decades. The courtyard stands out amongst the towering office buildings and concrete roadways with its unique design, prominent set of stairs and natural materials. With three main access points – two from the street and one from the office building itself – visitors are welcomed into a large space set back from the buzz of the nearby busy thoroughfares. “Many areas of downtown Ottawa are not particularly pedestrian-friendly,” says Ruhland, principal at Ruhland & Associates. “Buildings often go right up to the street, so the team wanted to open that portion of the block up to bring more light in, and bring the person back into the space.” In collaboration with Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects, Ruhland & Associates transformed the open space into an extension of the World Exchange Plaza that invites the building’s tenants and pedestrians alike in for a moment of reflection. Continues on next page 2020

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Continued from previous page BRINGING THE INSIDE OUT When designing an outdoor space, no matter the size, Ruhland often explores ways of incorporating elements from inside the building to the outside, creating a sense of cohesion. During the World Exchange Plaza construction, the strong lines and curves of the building were carried through to the outdoors in the various tree bosques and architectural elements, making the outdoors an extension of the indoors. One of the main visual elements at the plaza is the continuation of the floor pattern from inside the building to the courtyard. Square granite stones are laid out in a large grid pattern, making up the ground level of the amphitheatre and offering a striking visual from Queen Street, which overlooks the space. The landscape architectural firm, previously named Wheeler Douglas Associates Ltd., also approached the project with pedestrians front of mind. The amphitheatre seating, which is rarely empty on sunny days, provides ample resting space for those passing by, while the

“Businesses want to have a place they can use outside of the office.” – MARIETTA RUHLAND, PRINCIPAL, RUHLAND & ASSOCIATES

adjacent large slabs of limestone give the space a unique aesthetic. The rocks were brought in from Northern Ontario and are positioned within the treed spaces to further incorporate nature within the dense urban environment. “Employees in the building benefit from the access to great amenity spaces,” she says. “Businesses want to have a place they can use outside of the office for a change in scenery, or a space they can go and brainstorm, have a discussion and collaborate outdoors.” One of the main goals for Ruhland & Associates – not only on the World Exchange Plaza project, but with any outdoor space

they tackle – is to bring nature closer to the buildings. Outdoor areas should inspire people to reflect on their surroundings and feel comfortable in the space, she says. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES The iconic stairs leading up to Queen Street may be a fixture in the neighbourhood today, but the considerable change in elevation from the street above to the entrance at the World Exchange Plaza was a definite challenge when the design team first saw the space 24 years ago. “This project shows how we are able to take site issues and turn them into design

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elements,” Ruhland says. “Instead of saying ‘That’s a problem’ we turned it into a positive.” Ruhland & Associates also faced the issue of how they were going to plant trees and gardens in a space built on concrete. They designed a tree box that sits below ground level to house a sufficient volume of soil necessary to support the growth of trees and plants. This innovative thinking allowed them to keep their design vision intact, and kept the trees at ground level. 2020

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It’s an approach that Ruhland had continued to refine as technology and landscaping techniques evolve. “People are now talking a lot more about designing and building living streets, and with the new invention of soil cells and water management there is a real opportunity to plant trees that will last 20-plus years within the urban core,” says Ruhland. “We are always striving to research and implement our project’s goals with the latest technologies and

sustainable methods, whether through personal research, collaboration with colleagues or courses.” The amphitheatre at the World Exchange Plaza has withstood the test of time and become one of the downtown core’s most well-known landmarks due to the team’s classic design and choice of materials, says Ruhland, adding that those elements will help the plaza remain intact as a favourite spot for many in Ottawa. BEST OFFICES OTTAWA 27

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IMI - A GLOBAL PEOPLE COMPANY

A workplace that reveals a company’s culture and personality IMI EXPANDS AND MODERNIZES OTTAWA OFFICE TO REFLECT THE ETHOS OF THE ORGANIZATION

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old and bright are two obvious descriptors for IMI – A Global People Company’s new office space in Westboro. Funky and functional are two others. “The workplace should reflect the ethos of the organization,” said president and CEO Rudi Asseer. “If we’re out promoting customer experience, it’s equally important to provide an innovative employee experience.” Asseer wanted to create a comfortable working environment for his employees that would enable creativity and collaboration. IMI is a global company that provides technical resources and solutions to the supply chain industry. It deploys more than 2,500 technicians across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to Fortune 500 companies, such as FedEx,Walmart and Amazon. The company is headquartered in Ottawa, but has offices in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Ontario, Calif. All offices have the same look and feel as this one in Westboro. Given the tremendous growth since moving the headquarters to Ottawa, IMI had to relocate to a larger space this year, doubling its footprint. IMI is now well placed to manage scale for its employees and clients. Continues on next page 28 BEST OFFICES OTTAWA

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“It feels a lot more like family here. Everyone collaborates together.” – REBECCA ROSE, INTEGRATED CHANNEL MARKETING SPECIALIST, IMI

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Continued from previous page MODERNIZATION The size of the new space was the biggest challenge, as was “taking the ’80s out,” said designer Susan Fijalkowska. “The ’80s were full of curves. We got rid of the big curved wall in the office and squared it up.” Interior walls were removed to create an airy, openconcept design. Rows of long tables, separated into practical workspaces by low dividers, created a working hub at the centre of the space. Meeting rooms and offices for the managers were built around the outside of the hub and are divided from the main space by glass. This allows sunlight from the enormous exterior windows to pour through the glass walls, and fill the entire office space with natural light. Plus, windows on the entire north side of the office have a view of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and the Ottawa River. “My favourite part of this new space is all the natural light, the airiness of the open concept and the fact that the board rooms and offices have glass walls instead of closed doors,” said Alexandra Rodionova, IMI’s brand and culture marketing manager. “This really promotes creativity and collaboration.” Staff use the glass walls as white boards, brainstorming on them with erasable markers. Orange is the colour that pops here. IMI’s signature brand colour is highlighted throughout the design in chairs, office dividers, strips in the carpeting and burnt orange accent walls. It’s complemented by grey and off-white tones in the carpeting and 30 BEST OFFICES OTTAWA

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main walls. Grey barn board covers the wall behind the reception desk and the structural pillars in the main work area. This natural design element takes inspiration from the surrounding treed parkland. Stylized paintings and 3D grey plaster deer heads are wall art pieces that tie in the nature theme and are tongue-in- cheek symbols of IMI – a headhunter company. “It also places it as very Canadian,” added Fijalkowska. COLLABORATION At one end, three private phone booth rooms line the wall. These small workstations offer a quiet space for people to work or make a private call. There is also a comfortable nook with pillows and books where employees can take a break and relax. ABI provided all of IMI’s funky custom furniture. “It feels a lot more like family here. Everyone collaborates together,” said Rebecca Rose, IMI’s integrated channel marketing specialist. “There’s space for us to chat, get to know one another, especially in the collaborative spaces. And having that pillow area – people relax and read a book during their lunch breaks or bring their laptop over to work. It’s nice having the option to move around to different areas.” “People can check out and unplug, and be creative with the space – make it appealing,” said Asseer. “Ottawa is a highly competitive market place. We invested in a space as part of a strategy to attract and retain talent.” Then there’s the kitchen. It’s big, bright and bold with a long table and chairs, couches, a TV screen, and a mini basketball hoop. 2020

Because it is in the corner, large windows on two sides look out on the Parkway and the river. One wall features a huge black-andwhite mural, designed and painted by local graffiti artist Robbie Lariviere from Fall Down Gallery. “He came in and pulled all the important bits about IMI and its people, and put it all on the wall,” said Fijalkowska. The kitchen (known as the “Meet Locker”) is a favourite hangout. “People don’t typically eat lunch at their desks,” said Rose. “Most of us try to meet up for lunch to connect.” When IMI staff members need a break

from sitting at their desks, they can go into the kitchen, make coffee, shoot hoops or play Nintendo games. It’s where employees come together for company meetings, training sessions, team-building exercises and fun activities, such as potlucks, movie nights and cornhole tournaments. “People are head-down working, getting things done, but we do have that opportunity to step away, explore, rethink, regroup; so that makes it a nice, fun place to work,” said Rodionova. “It really works for the culture and personality of our company.” IMI is all about people and its culture, and it shows in its office design and layout. BEST OFFICES OTTAWA 31


CLELAND JARDINE ENGINEERING

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Engineering collaboration TEAM-FOCUSED PHILOSOPHY INSPIRES EDGY, INDUSTRIAL-CHIC NEW LOOK FOR CLELAND JARDINE OFFICE

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sk the founders of Ottawabased structural engineering firm Cleland Jardine Engineering about the secret to the company’s success, and you’re likely to receive a quick answer: “Teamwork.” The company, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, operates three divisions with some 55 team members, many of whom have dedicated their entire careers to the growing CJE brand. Several expansions over the 2020

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years saw the company assume adjacent blocks of its Kanata office space, eventually resulting in a less-than-optimal orientation that meant the culture of camaraderie fostered through activities such as lunch-and-learns, Friday afternoon cocktails and various social clubs were challenged by the choppy layout. No longer able to gather everyone together in one space, it was time to renovate. Continues on next page BEST OFFICES OTTAWA 33

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BEHIND THE SCENES Led by co-founders Bob Jardine and Mike Cleland, Cleland Jardine operates with a “TEAM Design” philosophy in which the expertise, talents and creativity of all employees are utilized on projects, regardless of which department takes the lead. This interdepartmental interaction promotes a sense of community and creates an environment in which people want to come to work and understand the value of their contributions. The firm operates three main divisions:

> The New Construction Team, led by Brian Johnson, tackles everything from office complexes to multimillion-dollar hospital and institutional jobs as well as large-scale residential towers and award-winning residential homes, from initial concept development to construction completion.

> Matthew Jaynes leads the Building Science Team, which specializes in the investigation and restoration of existing buildings and structures. Performing detailed assessments on building envelopes, structural condition surveys and building condition assessments, this group develops restoration methodologies for any existing building.

> The Special Projects Team, managed by Brent Weatherdon – who started his career as a CJE co-op student – focuses on unique and challenging projects that require a quick turnaround. This team performs structural engineering design and construction services for interior/ exterior renovations, building modifications and additions, structural capacity assessments and temporary construction works.

Members of the Cleland Jardine leadership team include, from left, Brian Johnson, Matthew Jaynes and Brent Weatherdon.

Continued from previous page BALANCING ACT When a neighbouring tenant on the second floor of its Terry Fox Drive headquarters moved elsewhere, Cleland Jardine acted fast. Armed with 3,500 square feet of extra space, the firm applied the same creativity that distinguished the company from others in their industry to its own design. Cleland Jardine wanted a supersized kitchen, a mixture of formal and informal meeting spaces as well as creative interior design touches. It was especially important that the space promoted a sense of fun and reflected the approach they take with their own clients: Providing practical and innovative solutions driven by client requirements. Local design firm 4té Inc. worked with CJE’s Special Projects Team to provide the fit and finish needed to achieve this vision. With the opportunity to shape the office for the future, staff were surveyed about the changes they wanted to see, which included the potential for an open-concept layout – something that proved to be a concern for the majority of the team. “While our work and culture is about team design and collaboration, there still needed to be areas where people could concentrate on the complex tasks associated with engineering calculations, modelling, data analysis and report writing,” CJE partner Brian Johnson said. “It was also important that everyone felt they had a comfortable space in the office to

call their own – a home away from home. While open office spaces are a fantastic approach that work well for many workplaces, this wasn’t the best fit for CJE.” In an effort to capture the best of both worlds and maintain that sense of community, Cleland Jardine opted for plenty of communal spaces and splashy design features showcasing the company’s work amongst an otherwise understated layout. Instead of knocking down cubicle walls, there are now many new collaborative working spaces across the two floors that are used for informal meetings and are perfect for when number-crunching and modelling staff need solitude for challenging problems. CREATIVITY AND TECHNICAL TALENTS Special touches throughout the space highlight Cleland Jardine’s work on some of Ottawa’s landmark buildings, including the University of Ottawa’s STEM building, the latest addition to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and special community projects such as Cancer Survivors Park and Roger’s House. The door that welcomes visitors into CJE’s office is fashioned with geometric shapes and a wood veneer panelled wall that showcases buildings designed by the firm. Additionally, engineering drawings are etched across the grey tile that lines the floor. An industrial stainless steel feature piece, dotted with bolts and rivets commissioned during a previous office fit-up hangs on the

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wall in the reception area. Combined with a custom painting of their structural engineering designs – painted in a matter of hours during its 25th anniversary event – means that visitors have no doubt about Cleland Jardine’s creativity or technical talents. The office kitchen is playfully dubbed the “Rebar” and features a punchy green theme that’s perfectly on brand with CJE’s corporate colour. Steel beams support the counter as light flows in from large windows, and industrial-style light fittings dangle from the ceiling. The industrial-chic look reflects Cleland Jardine Engineering as a company – modern and industrious but

with a fun, creative edge. The Rebar is the perfect social space that fits all its employees. The edgy, modern space can also be repurposed from kitchen to tutorial room, easily sectioned off and turned into a group learning space. Bob Jardine, co-founder and chief operating officer, said he’s thrilled with the outcome of the renovation which utilizes the office in the most effective way possible, while creating a special place for the team to enjoy. The whole design and renovation process was worth it to have a space where staff could collaborate and interact with each other, both personally and professionally.

“One of the most important aspects of maintaining employee satisfaction is giving them a place to hang out, creating a fun place to work.” – BOB JARDINE, CO-FOUNDER, CLELAND JARDINE ENGINEERING

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AGAZINE Delivered. Substantial. Unplugged. For a nominal fee of $8 per month, get one to 25 copies of the OBJ monthly newsmagazine hand-delivered to your office. Use the promo code PROSPECTUS for 50 per cent off the delivery fee for three months. obj.ca/delivery

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[IN]TEMPO DESIGN STUDIO

Drawing up a blueprint for a glass house BY CLOSELY COLLABORATING TO ADDRESS A UNIQUE SET OF CHALLENGES, [IN]TEMPO DESIGN AND EXCEL HR CREATED A WORKSPACE THAT BALANCES OPENNESS WITH PRIVACY AND SLEEKNESS WITH THE COMFORTS OF HOME

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ometimes going back to the drawing board actually requires a new drawing board. That’s what Excel HR co-founder and CEO Kathryn Tremblay discovered when collaborating with Ottawa’s [in]tempo design studio on the gleaming new offices for its sister firm, Altis Professional Recruitment group, at 300 Richmond Rd. in Westboro. Tremblay first considered turning the completely raw concrete-with-windows space into functional offices about four years ago. Even with professional help from three different designers, she’d been defeated. “We had a lot of trouble envisioning how we could deal with all the various pillars and mullions and the windows and still create a flow,” Tremblay recalls. The lack of an existing ceiling and unusual column placement were two of the hurdles that prevented the emergence of a feasible design that would accommodate a substantial number of employees. All that changed about a year ago when Jeremy Cheff and Marianne Dupont from [in]tempo design studio took up the task. Challenged to create an environment that was both open and divided into numerous offices, [in]tempo found ways to meet Tremblay’s stringent requirements by constructing what is essentially an edifice of glass. Continues on next page 38 BEST OFFICES OTTAWA

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beautifully lit backdrop. Palomino also appreciates how the visual openness aligns so well with how her team operates. “We’re very open,” said Palomino. “There’s always ongoing communication flow amongst all team members. Having glass and being able to see each other is part of how we communicate and interact.”

Continued from previous page “We wanted to maintain that ‘homey’ feeling while remaining corporate and comfortable,” said Cheff, who led the project. BUCKING THE OPEN-CONCEPT TREND The result is a sleek, streamlined and optically entrancing environment that’s visually accessible but still significantly private. Despite the prevailing trend toward openconcept workplaces, Tremblay points out that the human resources industry retains significant requirements for individual space. “Because we are often talking about salaries, we’re talking about people’s careers, we’re talking about their future, the people who visit us want to be able to talk openly,” said Tremblay. Noting how the individual offices are not fully closed off (there’s a small-but-purposeful gap between the windows and the dividing glass walls), Altis director Ana Palomino said the balance between privacy and collaboration is a great fit for a team that recruits and places executive-level and specialized professionals. “We still interview recruitment candidates in our office, so it gives us that one-on-one with the candidate,” Palomino said. “But once that person leaves the office, that team spirit, that team life, that flow of the office carries on.” Too much spirited chatter can be a distraction, however. That’s why noisecancelling technology was installed in the ceiling to help keep sound transfer to a pleasing murmur. Additionally, sound-absorbing foam wall coverings in the meeting room created a

ARTWORK CHANGES EVERYTHING Aside from striking a delicate balance between openness and privacy, the [in]tempo design team also had to satisfy Tremblay’s desire for a professional space that would feel personalized and homey. “The line between work and home is different than it used to be,” she said. “More people work from home now, but then when they’re working in the office they want to have that sense of home.” There’s also the conventional need to get employees to engage in meaningful ways and out from behind their computers, added Tremblay. “Having an attractive office makes you feel like you want to be there and creates that community,” she said. In the new space, particularly in areas such as the large, user-friendly kitchen and bright, ornate bathrooms, the homey approach takes clear precedence over the corporate. “The bathrooms look closer to what you would have in your home,” said Palomino. “Even our dishes and plates – they’re not your corporate type,” she added. “It’s that family feeling that’s being represented in this space.” It’s extremely significant that those allimportant details include a wide variety of original artwork that colours the space. “Artwork changes everything,” Tremblay said. “It’s transformative and I absolutely love what we have up there.” From the design perspective, Dupont relished the opportunity to put so much emphasis on art and other visual details such as light fixtures. With an unconventional approach that in some cases upended the typical design process, [in]tempo and Excel HR turned a space that initially seemed unworkable into one that beautifully balances a great many needs and, in the end, most definitely works.

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AN ECLECTIC MIX Blue velvet seats in reception paired with brass and marble tables, a customized wood table and large desks more typically seen in home offices are some of the elements that create a residential feel inside Altis’ Westboro office. But integrating those touches while retaining a professional look requires creativity, says [in]tempo designer Jeremy Cheff. The ergonomic desks, for example, were fabricated using lighter colours and materials – such as a white metal base and frame with a maple veneer surface – to appear less “heavy.”Other unique elements included large comfortable chairs for visitors to lounge in while being interviewed. “We ordered chairs in a variety of fabrics so that they didn’t appear too ‘perfect,’” explains Cheff. Another residential touch can be found inside the washrooms, which feature custom vanities, full mirrors, storage for small decorations and an accent wall with grey chevron tile.

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LWG ARCHITECTURAL INTERIORS

A healthy approach to workplace design SUSTAINABILITY AT THE CENTRE OF LWG’S WORK AT CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR HEALTHCARE IMPROVEMENT

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ut People First is literally one of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) pillars. This core value – writ large on an orange office pillar – is at the heart of the not-for-profit’s work and is built into the very design of its workspace. When Nancy Quattrocchi, CFHI’s vicepresident of corporate services, was planning the organization’s move to a larger office space on the second floor of 150 Kent St., she envisioned a healthier work environment that was modern, bright and more in line with CFHI’s mandate. “I wanted something that reflected our core values: put people first, collaborate for improvement, be transparent and focus on results,” said Quattrocchi. “I was very much looking for a designer who was innovative

and who had demonstrated the ability to truly listen to the client.” LWG Architectural Interiors was the right fit. “Our entire business is about collaboration and bringing the best people together to identify and advance innovations in healthcare,” said CFHI executive assistant Heather Scott. “Our work is about bringing people together, and the great thing about LWG is that they captured that value in their design.” WORKSPACE EVOLUTION “There seems to be a misconception that interior designers work in a creative bubble, then present their ideas and hope the clients buy in,” said Bryan Wiens, an interior designer

and principal at LWG. “Our job is to learn about the client – their mandate, work culture, how they operate and where they want to be five years from now. They need to feel that the space describes them.” Over its 25-year history, LWG has evolved to become the largest interior design firm in Ottawa and one of the busiest with 140 active projects a year. Early in 2020, LWG announced its merger with Design Associates, a leading Canadian commercial force in interior design and planning. The acquisition expands the LWG team to 24 designers, including the three principals: David Gibbons, Marc Letellier and Wiens. “We share common values in delivering excellence to our clients and fuelling the profession,” said Wiens. “Their team has already become part of our family of designers. That’s a lot of talent working under one roof for our clients.” Continues on next page

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Continued from previous page The company has seen a lot of changes in work environments since opening in 1984. Employees are no longer confined to working at a desk with a large computer terminal. They move within the office space to different collaborative work areas and are increasingly choosing to work from home. “Technology has changed the way people work. It is all-encompassing,” said Letellier, who led the CFHI design project. “Our design solutions respond to how people work and how they want to work at their organization. Sometimes the whole team gets involved in the process. That is why the CFHI space works and shows so well.” FLEXIBILITY SPACES Quattrocchi asked CFHI employees what their ideal office space would be. She compiled their feedback into a list of wants she gave Letellier and interior designer Gabrielle Lemaire. They delivered on every one, including using Canadian-made products, as they managed and coordinated the entire project from design through to construction completion including branding and furniture acquisition. The broader project team also included McKee Engineering providing electrical and 44 BEST OFFICES OTTAWA

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mechanical design as well as Cassidy Construction. Flexibility and movement was important to CFHI. So, LWG created flexible spaces. They anchored enclosed offices and meeting rooms in the centre of the space and allowed for open-concept employee sit/ stand desks to be placed around the perimeter, close to the windows. To give the interior offices natural light, LWG incorporated glass walls that face into the main areas. Meeting rooms were equipped with screens for teams to work collectively on projects. Whiteboard walls were installed in each room to facilitate brainstorming sessions. LWG also designed nooks complete with highbacked couches and screens to further promote staff collaboration. “It’s a wonderful space to be creative. So much of our work is done by consensus and this space reinforces that ability,” said Meghan McKenna, one of CFHI’s improvement leads. SUSTAINABILITY The neutral-toned open concept areas were divided by hanging neon green, aqua blue, orange and grey panels. These thick, felt panels featured stylized cut-out designs that don’t block out light but do act as sound buffers. They are made from recycled pop bottles. Elsewhere, the LWG team initiated a retrofit of all fluorescent lighting to LEDs to provide a more energy efficient and flexible lighting solution. Building sustainable, environmentally-friendly interiors has always been integral to LWG’s design philosophy. They are pioneers of sustainable design. Gibbons said LWG looks at sustainably sourced materials, ensuring furniture, carpet and design features are made of recycled materials and don’t use glues that off-gas. This was also important for CFHI. “We don’t put anything into a space without knowing where it came from or what is going to happen to it,” said Gibbons. In addition, when the company demolishes existing construction, most of it is diverted from landfills. Glass, steel studs and drywall get recycled. The company’s principals have always insisted that its contractors and tradespeople employ strong recycling practices. When LWG built its own workplace in 2006, they followed the green building certification model known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). It was ahead of its time, becoming the first LEED commercial interior in Ottawa. LWG incorporated the same LEED principles and practices in the CFHI design to make it an energy efficient, enviro-friendly, healthy workplace. “It’s all about putting people first – energy levels, lighting, ergonomics, air quality are all important, nonfinancial factors,” said Quattrocchi. “LWG designed the workspace around the type of work we do, instead of the other way around. And it worked.” 2020

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“LWG designed the workspace around the type of work we do, instead of the other way around. And it worked.” —NANCY QUATTROCCHI, VICE-PRESIDENT OF CORPORATE SERVICES, CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR HEALTHCARE IMPROVEMENT

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A celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region.

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unique inspiring office spaces To be part of Best Offices Ottawa 2021 contact Wendy Baily at wbaily@obj.ca

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Profile for Great River Media inc.

Best Offices Ottawa 2020  

Best Offices Ottawa is a celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region. This...

Best Offices Ottawa 2020  

Best Offices Ottawa is a celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region. This...