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CDN $8.95 MARCH APRIL 2020

Designers’ Digs

Co-working space for the A+D set

Project > Manulife Executive Suite Designer > Gensler Photo > Ben Rahn/A-Frame

Svend Nielsen Ltd. is an established Designer/ Manufacturer of the finest custom furniture and millwork. Drawing upon more than 65 years experience, we take great pride in crafting products that satisfy the most discerning eye. As a company we have a proven strength in working with designers and architects. We take your vision on paper and translate it into reality through a collaborative process in which our clients’ needs are seen as paramount. Over the years we have demonstrated our ability to handle the most demanding projects, executing contracts on time and in a professional manner.

Custom Furniture, Millwork and Public Seating • 55 Penn Drive, Toronto, Canada, M9L 2A6 Tel: 416-749-0131 nielsen@svendnielsen.com • www.svendnielsen.com

Custom Radiance in silk and wool | Rug Design by Ariel Muller Designs Inc

CUSTOM ART FOR YOUR 5th WALL Let’s find or create the carpet of your dreams without leaving the comfort of your home Browse our website at wstudio.ca, select the carpets you would like to view in your space, and we will gladly bring them for you to decide. follow us @wstudiocarpets

1330 Castlefield Ave. (at Caledonia) | Toronto | wstudio.ca | 416-929-9290 |info@wstudio.ca




SUBMISSIONS! 23rd Best of Canada Awards, the only national design competition in Canada to focus on interior design projects and products without regard to size, budget or location!

All winners will be published in the July / August issue of Canadian Interiors.

Submission Deadline: Friday, May 8th at 11.59 p.m. www.canadianinteriors.com/BoC

We gratefully acknowledge support from

We gratefully acknowledge support from

Abstract design. Tangible performance.

Vellum + Bindery Tarkett’s new modular styles draw on the rich tradition of book binding and early paper making, helping you craft a unique story with every interior. MODULAR: VELLUM (MYLAR), BINDERY (MYLAR) LUXURY VINYL TILE: COLLECTIONS INFINIES® MIRAGE (REFLECTION) FINISHING ACCESSORIES: METALEDGE® MET002 (STEEL)

TARKETTNA.COM 800.899.8916

GO AHEAD AND REACH FOR THE STARS Have an ambitious idea in mind? Aim high with custom capabilities that allow you to create stellar interiors. Products like MetalWorks™ Torsion Spring feature a versatile mix of standard and custom perforations, sizes, and finishes to make any space sparkle. Explore the possibilities of MetalWorks™ perforations at armstrongceilings.com/perforations



03/042020 Features


OFFICE, SWEET OFFICE New workspaces for four A+D firms solidify their brands and foster collaboration in the creative process. By Susan Nerberg

42 WHATEVER (UN)COMMON PEOPLE DO Bartlett & Associates delivers three uncommon office common spaces. By Michael Totzke

46 ALL TOGETHER NOW There are qualities both tangible and intangible that set design-focused co-working spaces apart from the WeWorks out there. By Matthew Hague


14 CAUGHT OUR EYE 16 SEEN Highlights and insights from the Interior Design Show in Toronto; Maison + Objet in Paris; and Heimtextil in Frankfurt. 26 THE

GOODS From seating to sound management to tables and shelves, these must-have workplace tools have found new style. 50 OVER & OUT The office is busier and louder than ever, and not in a good way. COVER – Bruce Mau Design is housed in an old manufacturing facility in Toronto’s historic Corktown neighbourhood. Photo by Scott Norsworthy.




March | April 2020 / V57 #2

Senior Publisher

Martin Spreer

416-441-2085 x108 Editor in Chief

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Canadian Interiors magazine is published by iQ Business Media Inc. 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto ON M3B 1Z3 Telephone 416-441-2085 e-mail: info@canadianinteriors.com website: www.canadianinteriors.com Canadian Interiors publishes six issues, plus a source guide, per year. Printed in Canada. The content of this publication is the property of Canadian Interiors and cannot be reproduced without permission from the publisher. Subscription rates > Canada $38.95 per year (plus taxes) U.S.A. $71.95 USD per year, Overseas $98.95 USD per year.

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Back issues > Back copies are available for $15 for delivery in Canada, $20 USD for delivery in U.S.A. and $30 USD overseas. Please send payment to: Canadian Interiors, 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto ON M3B 1Z3 or order online www.canadianinteriors.com For subscription and back issues inquiries please call 416-441-2085 x104 e-mail: circulation@canadianinteriors.com, or go to our website at: www.canadianinteriors.com

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scene View all the parties online @ canadianinteriors.com

IDS20 Party The opening-night party for the 22nd iteration of the Interior Design Show drew an estimated 6,000 designers, exhibitors and scenesters.

DesignTO Highlights

Artscape Daniels Launchpad Quadrangle designs an arts-focused co-working space that blends diverse artist and maker studios with entrepreneurial training programs and resources.

DesignTO kicked off the festival’s 10th anniversary with a Launch Party at the historic Berkeley Church in Toronto.

Bellwoods Lodge For architects Rick Galezowski and Maggie Bennedsen, an unexpected real estate development leads to a uniquely personal vision of home.

Annie Sloan comes to Cabbagetown The first standalone Annie Sloan retail store outside Oxford, England, opens in Toronto.

MARI Bakeshop Bioi Design + Build pair the passions of a baker and a pastry chef into a unified vision for a retail space.

The New Neolith

Holt’s Café Reborn

The Spanish-based sintered stone company introduces new technology, colour and finish options to its versatile product line.

Holt Renfrew celebrated the re-launch of Holts Café Bloor Street designed by Alex Cochrane with a reception featuring fancier-than-fancy cocktails and guests.





Sorry, what was that?

We are losing up to two hours of productivity every day due to distraction at work, says a new survey commissioned by iQ Offices, a Canadian-owned co-working company. Only two?! It feels like a lot more. When asked “what challenges my productivity the most,” the hit-list according to respondents was: loud talkers and “talk-a-holic” chatty colleagues; physical workspace issues such as “noisy recreation areas within the space” and a “distracting open concept work environment;” and “unassigned workspaces where I don’t have a permanent desk or office.” Hold on a second: two of the three worst offenders have to do with physical workspace, something designers should have mastered by now, no? But in fact, “Canadians overwhelmingly highlight design, physical environment productivity challenges like nomad seating arrangements, noise and distracting open concept design, ahead of other workload-related challenges, such as excessive email or unexpected extra work,” says Kane Willmott, iQ Offices CEO and co-founder.

CUSTOM LIGHTING MADE FOR YOU Residential Condominium Hospitality


1270 Castlefield Ave. | Toronto | 416.783.4100

Design features such as white noise systems and personal phone booths, extra sound deadening materials, private work areas and office management support services are a start to tackle some of these problems, and even sit stand desks and nap rooms “are a much better investment than a noisy recreation area when trying to improve productivity,” says Willmott. We get it: private cubicles have all but disappeared as more and more newly designed offices prioritize social spaces. But perhaps a correction is required even higher up, say, with client expectations. We are still in the wake of a Silicon Valley fervor, with many clients still thinking that to tap into the frenetic workplace culture that made tech start-ups appear so successful, design gimmicks in the office are still needed, like arcade games and ping pong tables. Designers need to step in and re-align that thought process, and perhaps one way to do that is to dangle something every company pays attention to: money. Supportive office environments are so important, roughly two thirds of survey respondents said they’d choose “slightly less money to work in a conveniently-located, beautiful workspace designed for productivity and employee satisfaction.” Nowhere did they say they’d do the same for a ping pong table.

Peter Sobchak


Give better hygiene a hand The fastest, energy efficient, HEPA-filtered hand dryer1

User friendly Tested to withstand real washroom scenarios, the durable design uses ‘time of flight’ sensors that accurately detect hands in 0.25 seconds to activate air and reduce waiting time. It is also our quietest Airblade to date.2

Dyson digital motor V4 Using digital pulse technology, the Dyson digital motor V4 spins up to 75,000 times a minute in Max mode.

Ergonomic design Straight line configuration allows for simpler air flow paths, meaning less energy consumption. And efficient aerodynamics means the Dyson digital motor draws up to 87% less energy than a warm air hand dryer and lowers costs to just $19/year running in Eco mode.3

HEPA filter Fleece-lined glass fiber HEPA filter captures 99.97% of particles,4 including bacteria and viruses, from the washroom air.

10 second dry time 5 Ergonomic drying angle and Curved Blade™ design follow the curves of your hands to remove water quickly, for fast, comfortable hand drying.

For further information: 866-236-3884 info@dyson.com www.dysoncanada.ca Dry time and energy consumption calculated for Max mode. Dry time was determined using Dyson test method 769 based on NSF P335 to a measurement of 0.1g residual moisture. 2Average loudness (measured in sones) compared to Dyson Airblade™ hand dryers. 3Average electricity price $0.1/kWh as of May 2019. For calculations visit www.dyson.com/calcs. 4HEPA filter tested to IEST-RP-CC001.6, by an independent testing laboratory, under prescribed test conditions. 5Dry time determined for Max mode using Dyson test method 769 based on NSF P335 to a measurement of 0.1g residual moisture.


caught our eye Needles in a Stack of Needles

They Feed Off Buildings The Berlin-based architecture and design collective of Luisa Rubisch and Rasa Weber are driven by a laudable mission: to create new materials from construction waste. They first began experimenting with urban rubble in 2017, transforming construction debris into colourful surfaces that reflected Berlin’s architectural character. Since then, they have travelled to various cities in Europe, turning demolition debris into distinctive surfacing for floors and countertops, and brought their process and product to DesignTO. Produced using traditional terrazzo-making methods, their Urban Terrazzo is a composite surfacing material made from the remnants of condemned buildings, and “a way for old buildings to live on in new ones,” say Rubisch and Weber. “This not only increases awareness of resource conservation, but also preserves architectural heritage.” www.urbanterrazzo.com


Hannes Wiedemann

DesignTO turned 10 this January, and like most 10-year-olds it exhibited a serious growth spurt. Its program was jam packed with over 100 events, launches and installations across the city. We were barely able to scratch the surface, but here are two of the best (that we saw).

The ABCs of Polish Design 2019 was an important year for Poles, as it represented the cen­tenary of Poland regaining independence. To celebrate such a historic landmark, a multitude of cultural programming designed to promote the history of Polish creativity was initiated. Much of it stayed in Poland to educate Poles, but some of it (organized by the state-funded Adam Mickiewicz Institute) made the rounds at inter­national design events. As such, DesignTO hosted a brilliant exhibition curated by Ewa Solarz that attempted to encapsulate 100 years of Polish design by showing 100 “things” that not only include items traditionally associated with design like furniture, glass, and porcelain, but also less obvious ones, from fonts to logos to kids’ toys. And to move the exhibition beyond just showing “stuff,” each object in the display is paired with a corresponding graphic that serves as visual interpretations (and also highlights Poland’s incredibly strong graphic design heritage). www.designguide.pl TOP Kula Coffee Set, designed by Bogusław Wendorf, 1932. Illustration by Katarzyna Bogucka. RIGHT Diana meat grinder, designed by Marek Liskiewicz Triada Design, 1999. Illustration by Marianna Oklejak.




Same Old, New Old

The decade may be fresh, but IDS’ raison d’être doesn’t seem so. But then again, when 50,000 attendees descend into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre over four days (with roughly 30 per cent being trade professionals), maybe there isn’t much incentive to mess with a model that works. By Peter Sobchak






4 1 Dreamland | Caesarstone You definitely saw this; you just can’t remember if you saw it in person or on Instagram, which was part of the point (and problem, in my estimation). Potter and celebrity designer Jonathan Adler was asked to flip conventional expectations by presenting the hard material of Caesarstone quartz into something “soft and delicate,” but the real kudos should go to Ontario-based Unique Store Fixtures, which was able to construct a massive installation — 75 slabs of quartz, each weighing more than 1,000 lbs. — in four weeks. www.uniquestorefixtures.com


2 Cove Collection | Kastella The Montréalbased manufacturer of premium hardwood furniture used IDS as the launchpad for a new collection by founder Jason Burhop. Driven by simplicity, the table and bench were designed with a solid wood top and a subtle cove detail on all four sides and an inset apron that curves into the legs. www.en.kastella.ca 3 Kitchen Collection | Franz Viegener Like a candy store for home chefs, the booth for this brand known mainly for sculptural bath fittings was bursting with new product, including extensions to their Nerea and Lollipop collections, a brand new “BK” PVD satin black finish and new Seven, Classic and Konic collections. On top of all that, Franz Viegener has decided to enter the kitchen category with a new faucet collection in multiple finishes (shown). www.franzviegener.com 4 LED | Miralis This technology-driven cabinetry company with a European design sensibility based in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Québec showcased two contemporary kitchen vignettes complete with their new integrated LED lighting system built directly into the cabinetry and that reliably delivers light upon smooth opening and closure of the cabinets and drawers. www.miralis.com


5 Inserire Collezione | Mattacchione This is why we tell kids to stay in school! This brand-new company is the brainchild of Anthony Mattacchione, a 21-year-old fourth-year student studying architecture at the University of Toronto, but who discovered CNC machines in the Daniels Faculty’s Digital Fabrication Laboratory. The results are a very mature furniture line that includes side table, stool, and coffee table with cantilevered matte black powder-coated steel bases and laminated maple hardwood tops. www.mattacchione.ca


6 Percy Chair | Studio Marion The winner of the Best Prototype award hails from Winnipeg and is “loosely inspired by the modest waiting room chair” says its creator, Nicole Marion (who honed her product development skills at places like EQ3 and Gus* Modern). Muscular but inviting, the chair’s frame is two-inch diameter aluminum tubing powder-coated coral pink and supports Dacronupholstered cushions. www.studiomarion.ca 7 Cut Out the Noise | Ezobord This maze-like installation, designed by SDI Design using Ezobord’s sound absorbing panels made from recycled water bottles, drew attention to the fact that we live in a world “where we’re constantly switched on, and as humans, we often need somewhere to escape the rush, reset and refocus our minds,” said the designers. The installation ultimately won a Best Contract Booth Design award at the show. www.sdi-design.com / www.ezobord.com




1 Minimalist | Monogram While it took a few minutes for your eyes to adjust and your brain to figure out what you were looking at, Monogram’s all-glass kitchen installation designed by industrydarlings Partisans was impressive, if disorientating. Minimalist is one of two new product offerings the luxury appliance brand is rolling out in early 2020, the other being Statement. www.monogram.com 2 Catris Flexo | Blanco Continuing to do what they do well, Blanco expanded their popular Catris collection with a new model: the Catris Flexo featuring a flexible, matte-black rubber hose giving it a modern, industrial look. The faucet is available in two finishes: Chrome and Stainless Finish. www.blancocanada.com

3 Ztista | Faina Design If there is an end product to performance art, this chair is a contender. Made of recycled metal, cellulose, wood chips and clay, a collection of household objects (furniture, vases, tapestries) are handcrafted using a century-old primitive rolling technique known as valkuvannia that involves coating a solid surface with a mixture of natural elements and that, according to founder Victoria Yakusha, is on the verge of extinction in Ukraine. Having toured the European trade show circuit, this is Yakusha’s first presentation of the Ztista (Ukrainian for “made of dough”) line in Canada.



4 G 7000 | Miele AutoDos and PowerDisk are two important words for this German luxury appliance brand, because they represent the newest upgrades to their G 7000 diswasher system, which automatically dispenses specially designed powder granulate detergent. Additionally, the new dishwashers can be controlled by an app and programmed from a mobile device, meaning all that remains for the user to do is load and unload the machine and, occasionally, to replace the PowerDisk. www.miele.com









1 Air Apparent | Michèle Oberdieck After years spent working in textile design, Londonbased artist Michèle Oberdieck switched gears and in 2016 graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Master’s degree in Ceramics and Glass. This collection of glass vessels are mouth-blown and shaped by hand while still warm and malleable, resulting in stunning, seductively hued forms. Oberdieck explores balance and asymmetry through shape, surface and colour. www.micheleoberdieck.com

2 Stairs | Ethnicraft Designed by Alain Van Havre, this sideboard compels with an intriguingly sculptural three-dimensional surface. Angular facets define the doors, casting shadows and creating a kinetic effect that is even more pronounced in direct light. Available in either natural or black oak supported by black metal legs and can be ordered with either three or four doors. www.ethnicraft.com 3 Canaletto | Ligne Roset Italian architect and multidisciplinary designer Mauro Lipparini reveals the purity of form and clean geometric composition in a modular glass display cabinet available in a variety of sizes and configurations. A slim steel base finished in bronze lacquer is paired with smoked brushed anodized aluminum door frames containing panels of ridged glazing on the front and sides of the cabinet. Various interior lighting options are available. www.ligneroset.com


Lucky Strike

By Leslie Jen

Despite the significant disruption caused by unrelenting strike action in Paris, enthusiasm for Maison & Objet 2020 remained undimmed. Exhibitors from all corners of the globe delivered a consistently inspiring array of product, revealing a refined design sensibility and meticulous craftsmanship.








4 Pukka | Ligne Roset Collaborating with French furniture powerhouse Ligne Roset, Canadian interior design legends Yabu Pushelberg have released their organically inspired Pukka collection. Constructed of foam of varying densities for durability and comfort, the chubby rounded forms are covered in a stretchy fabric upholstery available in a plethora of colours. www.ligneroset.com 5 Balance + Kin | SkLO The gently arcing Balance pendant light features two variably sized glass orbs held in suspension by a brass stem. Standard metal finishes include dark oxidized or brushed brass, in five glass colours: clear, olivine and smoke in transparent glass, and new blue and white in opaque glass. Kin is a gracefully attenuated conical table lamp, its milky glass bottom fading to full transparency as it tapers to its top. Available in three sizes with a brass base in either a brushed or dark oxidized finish. www.sklo.com 6 Silhouette | Nanimarquina This rug collections designed by the ever-prolific Jaime Hayon evokes the whimsical forms seen in the paintings of Spanish artist Joan Mirรณ, and features nine faces in profile, expressed through colourful, looping organic embroidery. Available in two sizes and in both indoor and outdoor versions, the former in 100 per cent hand-spun Afghan wool, while the latter resists the elements with 100 per cent recycled PET fibre. www.nanimarquina.com







1 August | Serax Triple threat Vincent Van Duysen — architect, interior and product designer — is behind the August collection of dining tables and chairs for Serax. This indoor/outdoor furniture line comprises part of Van Duysen’s much larger project, the stunning conversion of a convent into the recently opened August Hotel in Antwerp. Fabricated entirely of black or grey-green powder-coated aluminum, the weatherproof collection includes a lounge chair (pictured) and dining table all with a minimalist aesthetic. www.serax.com 2 Jessí | Thomas Van Noten Emerging interdisciplinary designer Thomas Van Noten debuted Jessí at M&O 2020; this exquisitely crafted armchair features a frame of solid walnut with forest green velvet upholstery. Antwerpbased Van Noten plans to evolve Jessí with the goal of releasing versions in oak and ash, collaborating with textile designers to provide a variety of upholstery options. www.thomasvannoten.com 3 Georgette | Illus Belgian couple Julie Thiers and Henri Van den Broeke have expanded beyond their interior design practice Atelier 10.8 to launch Illus, devoted to the design and production of accessories for the home. Their collection of mirrors includes Georgette with its aged brass frame and a projecting shelf or mantel. www.illus-object.com



4 Trullo | Monitillo In collaboration with Swedish architectural firm Claesson Koivisto Rune, Monitillo unveiled Trullo, a freestanding washbasin carved out of a single block of stone. The elegant columnar form is expressed as four stacked rings of marble, rising 85cm with a diameter of 40cm. Trullo is available in white carrara or imperial cream. www.monitillomarmi.it


Always DISTINCTIVE Offering a vast selection of stunning white designs with exquisite depth and vibrant personality, Cambria lets you create elegant spaces with iconic style. Be bold. Be inspired. Be revolutionary with 20 new designs that celebrate our 20th anniversary.

© CAMBRIA 2020 || 400302_AD

Share your work with us by using #MyCambria or uploading at CambriaUSA.com/CanadianInteriors for a chance to be featured by Cambria.


Experience the Legend of Cambria See the full film at LegendOfCambria.com/CI.






Kunterbunt @ 50

By Martin Spreer

That German expression for a “riotous profusion of colour� was an understatement for the 50th edition of Heimtextil, with hot pinks, bright purples, mint greens and dizzying multi-colour digital prints vying for attention amid geometric Art Deco-inspired patterns. CANADIAN INTERIORS 3/4 2020


1 Happy Pillow | Agrupe UAB Lithuanian printmaker Aida Matuseviciute claims this eye-catching fabric’s inspiration was the happy folks of her home country, although clearly some cues from the sketches of Picasso have leaked into her design process. www.agrupe.lt

2 Ipanema Pink | Arthouse Combining a textured snakeskin design with raised gloss effects, subtle diamond patterns and a hot pink colour ensures this wallpaper makes a statement. For the less adventurous customer, the same design is also available in more understated colours. www.arthouse.com 3 Marble Stone 91299-37 | B&B Fabrics This marble-inspired indoor fabric in rich green and gold colours appears different depending on the ambient lighting. The serpentine green lends this 100 per cent cotton fabric an organic richness and a dramatic feel, with the infused gold veins adding an elegant touch.



4 Bits Collection Graphite Yellow | Bliss Fabrics This outdoor fabric’s striking contemporary design incorporates digitally inspired patterns and shapes with vivid colours to achieve a multi-dimensional yet uniquely simple pattern where shapes and colours bleed into one another. www.blissfabrics.es


5 Falling Cube | BN Walls This seemingly threedimensional wallpaper, part of the Cubiq collection, creates a unique spatial effect with colourful graphic and shadow effects to enhance the atmosphere of any space through a decorative play with colour and patterns. www.bnwalls.com 6 Shibuya | Cristina Orozco Cuevas Tokyo’s two Shibuya-ku railway stations, which are some the country’s busiest, created the setting for this frenetic textile design by Mexico City-based Cristina Orozco Cuevas. Overlapping and merging circular patterns in various colours create an intriguing three-dimensional composition. www.cristinaorozcocuevas.com 7 Nagano | Command Wallcovering The undisturbed natural beauty of Nagano Prefecture, in the center of Japan’s Honshu island, was the inspiration for this wallpaper. Simulating the patterns of natural materials, subtle colour and texture variation in the manufacturing process add a warm and rich touch to the overall composition of this product. www.command54.com



8 Christo | Khrôma Masureel Part of the Folies collection, which draws its name from the famous Parisian cabaret music hall Folies Bergère, this wallpaper series combines a joie de vivre of Art Deco elegance, modernism and luxury with Bauhaus-inspired lines of rich colours and natural sophistication, making it perfect as an accent wall in any space. www.khroma.be

9 Symmetry | Newmor Making a bold statement through colour and shape, this wallpaper collection is inspired by Arabic damask silk print and fabric weaving styles. In addition, its versatility means it can be re-scaled and re-coloured to suit any spatial requirement. www.newmor.com

10 Seraya | Omexco Colourful woven bakbak (the stalk coverings of a banana-type plant known as abaca), combined with natural strips of sari silk, make this wallcovering a true standout. Produced from recycled textiles and radiating an organic feel, each metre is unique, since the colours of the silk alternate without ever being repeated, imbuing it with a sophisticated and contemporary look.





the goods 1 NeatUp | Humanscale This savvy cable management tool helps users achieve a connected and clutter-free workstation. Compatible with Humanscale’s award-winning sit-stand desk, Float (and its electronic counterpart, eFloat), NeatUp sits seamlessly along the table leg and moves with the desk as it is adjusted up and down. www.humanscale.com

1 2

2 Freehand | Studio TK These deliberately imperfect tables, designed by London-based PearsonLloyd, are meant to be combined together to form different geometric configurations. Inspired by an artist’s free-flowing pencil, the tables are available in two shapes, three sizes, 16 paint options and five water-based lacquer finishes. www.studiotk.com

3 Flex Write Surface | Post-it Brand When asked, most professionals express frustrations with traditional whiteboards, from ink staining to loss of dry-erase markers. Enter Flex Write, a new peel-and-stick product from Post-it Brand that can turn virtually any surface into a whiteboard. In addition to a simple application and damage-free removal, Flex Write can be used with any dry-erase or permanent marker. www.post-it.com

4 Paravan Mood | Arper Originally designed by Lievore Altherr to complement Arper’s Paravan privacy panels, these geometric accessories can now be installed as stand-alone items or grouped together for handy use in offices, classrooms, mudrooms and more. Simple in form and reliable in application, the full Paravan Mood line includes whiteboards, hooks, mirrors, magazine holders, shelves and socket towers, among other useful offerings. www.arper.com 5 Day-to-Day PowerBeam | AIS Designed as an extension to AIS’s Day-to-Day Tables collection, this slim power bar and cable management tool works with both fixed and height-adjustable desks, allowing cords to be concealed and fed through the floor, up a leg, or down from the ceiling through a wall feed or power pole. www.ais-inc.com

Nine to Five


From power bars to white boards and shelves, these once-traditional workplace tools have found new purpose (and style).


By Shannon Moore



USG Ceiling Solutions

USG ENSEMBLE™ ACOUSTICAL DRYWALL CEILING. Learn more at cgcinc.com/ensemble

© 2020 USG Corporation and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. The trademarks USG, CGC, ENSEMBLE, IT’S YOUR WORLD. BUILD IT., the USG/CGC logo, the design elements and colours, and related marks are trademarks of USG Corporation or its affiliates.

the goods



1 Aveza | Sunon This clever chair, designed by Form and Brand, finds its inspiration in the outstretched wings of a soaring bird. Aveza’s v-shaped backrest and seat bend flexibly in all directions, maintaining balance while responding to the natural movements of the human body. The resulting ergonomic chair, available in vibrant and muted colours, encourages users to ditch sedentary office routines and embrace frequent movement in their nine to five lives.



2 N02 Recycle Chair | Fritz Hansen Designed by Nendo, the N02 Recycle Chair is inspired by the subtle and simple crease of a folded piece of paper, translated through a bent yet strong shell that provides targeted support to the upper and lower back. Made of recycled plastic from household waste, the stackable office or dining chair is available in seven colours with three base options. www.fritzhansen.com 3 Uptown Chair | Beaufurn A gently curved base and rounded back make for relaxed yet supported seating. The stackable chair is extremely durable due to its contoured polypropylene shell, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor environments such as kitchens, food courts, health care centres, classrooms, restaurant terraces or pool areas. www.beaufurn.com


Pull Up a Chair

Stackable, supportive, sustainable and smart. These stylish seats have it all. By Shannon Moore



4 Enea Altzo943 | Coalesse Coalesse has expanded its popular Enea collection to include new chair and stool offerings, designed by Estudi Manel Molina. The Altzo943 blends solid oak legs with colourful precision-molded seat shells to add warmth and character to the workplace, while helping users feel more connected to the space. www.coalesse.com 5 Rho | Davis Furniture LucidiPevere’s inaugural lounge collection evokes the soft and fluid shapes of Italy’s countryside. The oval chairs are precisely upholstered thanks to an inventive vacuum technique that shrinks the interior foam and stretches the cover over each frame, eliminating the need for unnecessary seams and zippers. All that remains is a deliberate open chain stitch, available in 20 thread colours, in Rho’s centre. www.davisfurniture.com

Mipolam Affinity Modern, high performance homogeneous flooring with EvercareŠ surface treatment offering ultimate stain resistance and no wax for life

Visit gerflorcanada.com to see the full collection or email us at orders.canada@gerflor.com for samples or more information

the goods

1 Mute Box | Artopex These freestanding work booths aim to increase productivity and privacy in open work environ­ments. Available in solo or collaborative sizes for up to four people, each Mute Box is equipped with superior ventilation and acoustics, from double glass walls to three-inch air chambers, door seals and high-density soundproofing. www.artopex.com


2 Soundscape | Shaw Contract By pairing LVT in wood visual planks with acoustic backing underneath, this flooring not only absorbs sound but literally stops it from travelling. Ideal for both public and private spaces, Soundscape has been proven to decrease sound impact by 35 per cent, compared to a standard 2.5mm thick LVT.



3 M923 | Maars Living Walls The M923 modular panel system combines furniture, decor and wall panels that can be easily moved and reconfigured based on the user’s ever-changing mood or need. The panels are available in numerous finishes including moss, cork, whiteboard and textile and are 99 per cent reusable, making this ergonomic workstation both user and environmentally friendly. www.maarslivingwalls.com

4 O VCR | Framery Whether connecting with remote workers, interviewing potential employees or collaborating with colleagues from across the globe, the O VCR provides a private soundproof approach to face-timing. The echo-free phone booth is available in a painted sheet metal or brushed stainless steel exterior, with a birch plywood, recycled acoustic foam and acoustic felt interior.



The Sound of Silence


5 Brix | Luxxbox This modular, scalable and fullycustomizable acoustic system consists of plates linked together by pins, creating partitions, walls or cubicles that reduce noise and increase privacy in open spaces. Users can choose from over 360 colour combinations and either rectangular, T-shaped or X-shaped plates, as well as open, semi-closed or fully-closed screen options, for varying levels of sound and sight management. www.luxxbox.com

By Shannon Moore

The industry’s latest acoustic systems are easily customizable and exceedingly reliable.




Announcing New

Lumitone Colour Management System

Change the way you look through glass and more!

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Office, Sweet Office New workspaces for four A+D firms solidify their brands and foster collaboration in the creative process. One question that preoccupies most creative firms — from architecture offices to graphic-design studios to video-game producers — is, how do you shape a work environment that fosters collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas while also boosting the innovation that is at the core of their existence? This is a conundrum that, of course, extends to a variety of clients, not only creatives but companies that place a premium on spaces that make a difference to the staff’s well-being, especially when it can have a positive effect on the bottom line. They’ll want designers to resolve that question, partly as a strategy to attract or retain talent but also to create an environment that reveals something about the company’s DNA. But what happens when the designer is also the client? Some might argue that designers are the most finicky of customers, with as many ideas for what constitutes great office form and function as there are staff members. What is the outcome when an architecture studio is tasked with whipping up an office interior for a world-renowned branding bureau, as when Williamson Williamson embarked on shaping a new office for Bruce Mau Design? Or when a design firm needs to overhaul the newly acquired digs for its own staff, as with Vancouver-based Cutler? What we found looking at the new offices of four creative firms was a return to basics that elevate the designs to their most functional while also being easy on the eyes. Sweet offices, indeed.

By Susan Nerberg



Bob’s Your Uncle Bob’s Your Uncle Design LEAD DESIGNERS: Ada Bonini and Cheryl Broadhead DESIGN:

Vancouver, British Columbia Photography by Provoke Studios

When Bob’s Your Uncle decided to move to new digs, they had two years to dream up their future workspace. Two years can be a luxury as well as a curse; in this case, that duality drove the design process. “Because we had more time, the design went through several iterations,” says Ada Bonini. “We could plan the design, think about it, then do more research. With a ‘regular’ client, the process would be more condensed.” In the end, Bonini says, the design is better for it.

previous page and this spread Bob’s Your Uncle purchased this double height unit with north and east facing glazing as a shell space and did a complete re-design from start to finish, with the goal of providing a light and airy workspace punctuated with dramatic talking points. A black solid steel railing seemingly hugs the stair, which leads up to the ‘hang-out’ space of the mezzanine. Multiple seating zones offer users numerous touch down and lounge spots. Soft felt ottomans, an oversized long sofa, round café tables, and seating stools are mingled in the space. The studio below uses a benching system.


The office is dominated by contrasts that while they stand out against one another manage to add a sense of cohesion to the space. Groupings of bright white workstations are divided by warm wood walls set against concrete and black steel. Pastel colours for upholstery add coziness to meeting and social spaces. To achieve this overall polish, Bonini credits group buy-in and involvement in the design process. “We did surveys to assist us on programming decisions and adjacencies, then reviewed the data as a group,” Bonini says. And while she points out that designers can be very fickle clients, “we also understand outcomes from research and educated design decisions.” The result is an office that has boosted morale by adding opportunities for teamwork and collaboration and spaces intended for hanging out and getting to know one another. Add to that the reaction from visitors. “It makes me so proud that something we designed for ourselves brings admiration from clients and suppliers,” says Bonini.




Bruce Mau Design Williamson Williamson LEAD DESIGNERS: Betsy Williamson and Shane Williamson DESIGN:

Toronto, Ontario Photography by Scott Norsworth

this spread Upon arrival at the reception desk from the elevator foyer, the space is divided into east and west components, with the reception desk itself forming a critical node, visually distinct through its oak-sheathed rhomboid form, behind which are BMDdesigned books and artifacts conspicuously displayed in sculpturally articulated shelving units. The eastern end of the office emphasizes the importance of the collaborative relationship, with three variably sized meeting rooms surrounding a kitchen and lounge.



the character and energy of the people who work for us, and the inprogress work for our clients that’s all around the studio.”

With its move to a new global head office in Toronto’s historic Corktown district, Bruce Mau Design (BMD) draws on the past to move its staff forward, at least when it comes to where and how they devise branding strategies for their clients. Laid out over a triangular footprint in a former factory building, the space reveals its past: rough-hewn exposed beams, brick walls and sturdy steel columns. Williamson Williamson, the architecture firm in charge of the agency’s office design, kept these existing parts largely as is, as reminders of the past but also as a way to strip back the concept for the space to the barest of elements, underscoring BMD’s research-driven approach. “There’s a high degree of restraint,” says Tom Keough, the agency’s managing director. “The space is meant to be animated by

Still, materials and textures added to the volume’s existing palette include curved glass walls etched with graphic patterns that offer a hint of privacy for closed meetings but also lend a sense of movement to the dominating lines. A central reception desk in finely crafted oak divides the space in east and west neighbourhoods, which in turn house workstations and gathering nooks. Extending from this node, millwork planes like large, angled fins make up the shelves of a sculptural bookcase. The legacy of the past is, apparently, on equal footing with new ways of doing things.



Perkins+Will Perkins + Will LEAD DESIGNERS: Martha del Junco and Jon Loewen DESIGN:

Toronto, Ontario Photography by Scott Norsworthy

Perkins + Will’s move to an office in downtown Toronto represents not only a geographical shift from its previous midtown location; it also signals a transformation of the design environment and culture. To create a flexible space that would stand out as a fun place to work, the design team turned the lens on the needs of the staff. Seeing the studio community as their client, they picked the employees’ brains to find out what they liked in their pre-move office and quizzed them on where and how they felt their workspace could be improved. In addition to these qualitative interviews, del Junco and Loewen led quantitative analyses of the way the staff used the old office, forming the basis for a shared design vision. Located close to public transit and amenities such as shopping and restaurants, the new office was a move up for the employees. But it came with a trade-off: a smaller footprint. To maximize the space and respond to the staff’s wishes for more flexibility and collaboration, del Junco and Loewen delineated the space by inserting a millwork spine down the centre of the floorplate, providing storage and separation between work and social areas. Individual workstations are now up for grabs; rather than an employee always using the same desk, they can claim any space or desk that’s free. The new office may be smaller than the former midtown location, but it’s big on solutions that put creative minds together or help staff find a private nook for reflection.

this spread Perkins+Will gutted the floor of a 1960s heritage building in Toronto’s core to accommodate their new office vision. That the building was not a brand-new floor-to-ceiling glass office tower, but instead had an exposed concrete structure with a unique vertical rhythm of windows felt architecturally distinctive and meaningful to inhabit. They even sacrificed preferred square footage just to have a more unique space. Exposed concrete waffle-slabs were used as a unifying element, with soft, natural finishes including wood, cork and leather as a striking contrast. LEED Gold and Fitwel 2 Star-Rating were achieved by incorporating biophilic elements and privileging natural light.





Cutler Cutler LEAD DESIGNERS: Tiina Vahtola and Elisa Leung DESIGN:

Vancouver, British Columbia Photography by Luke Potter



this spread The bones of the existing building are loft-like and urban with exposed brick and heavy timber construction, elements that were respected in the new design. The palette was limited to neutral colours and simple finishes, such as painting the existing brick white to modernize and brighten the environment. To encourage movement and minimize static sitting, furniture was selected at different heights and comfort levels to support both standing height and lounging. The staff hub is situated in the north east corner of the space and combines the kitchen with the sample library.

It’s no surprise that one of the overarching concerns for Cutler as it started planning for a move-in to a new office was to bolster innovative thinking and cooperation. What was different, perhaps, was the approach: to strip everything down to the basics. “What was most important was the health and wellbeing of our team,” says Tiina Vahtola. “We eliminated any unnecessary visual distractions so that our designers had an environment that left space for their creativity to flow effortlessly.” Cutler had signed up for a loft-like space that had some good bones worth preserving. But the 100-year-old building presented certain challenges, notably the existing wood post-and-beam construction, two exit stairwells that jutted into the floor space and plumbing locations that could not be moved. “We hand sketched the different possibilities the space had to offer until we found a layout that worked with the site’s restrictions and also aligned with our intentions of the space,” Vahtola says. By drafting several iterations, the design team was able to nail the best arrangement possible. The office, which is three times as large as the previous one, boasts ample opportunities for staff to sit and work together, and employees are already saying they feel better in the new office thanks to the social and collaboration areas they didn’t have before. “The new space has made us a stronger team,” says Vahtola. “We are more connected but can also work quietly if we need to.” Bonus point: there’s also more space for the office dogs.



Visitors and employees alike pause to enjoy the artful elements of Crown Realty’s revamped lobby in a North York tower. “Our staff is elated with the result of the project, as are the partners/co-owners of the property,” says Crown Realty’s Scott Watson, partner, Leasing and Marketing. “The tenants at the building have been reinvigorated by the changes and are thoroughly enjoying the newly created collaborative space.”

Whatever (Un)common People Do When Inger Bartlett gets asked how much of her practice, which she founded in 1983, is devoted to designing offices, she raises an eyebrow in mock indignation. “Here’s what I tell people,” the gregarious president of Toronto-based Bartlett & Associates (B|A) says, with a knowing smile and expert comic timing. “‘We don’t do corporate work; we do work for corporations.’” Understandable. No one likes to be typecast; and not for Bartlett a cookie-cutter approach. She regards each new project, in any sector, as a blank slate. How does she begin? “I listen,” she says. “Listening is an important part of our work.” CANADIAN INTERIORS 3/4 2020


By Michael Totzke Photography by Tom Arban

In the past dozen years, several offices B|A designed have raised the studio to a higher level of prominence. These include Toronto offices for three global powerhouses: Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising firm (the project won six major awards); McCann, the marketing agency; & PR firm Edelman. Though all individual, these spaces share the hallmarks of B|A’s design: clarity, urbanity, playfulness; the best natural materials (“They look better. They last,” says Bartlett); a biophilic element or two (dogwood branches and a colossal deer head made of twisted wire at Saatchi & Saatchi; 3D leaf-like screens at Edelman); and timelessness (“Clients are spending a lot of money and we offer long-term value”). Since the Great Recession of 2008, it has become clear that the “incredible shrinking office’’ is a phenomenon that is here to stay. “It was reduced real estate that led to open offices and more collaborative spaces for a lot of companies, but it’s actually a better way for people to work together,” says Bartlett. “We saw it first in the ad agencies and other creative industries, where leaders were giving up their private offices in favour of adding more shared spaces where people can better

Bartlett & Associates delivers three uncommon office common spaces.

above It’s no surprise that a sleek, handsome bar at Mill Street Brewery’s headquarters serves as the main meeting space. Glass walls framed in glossy black metal allow natural light to permeate the full interior of the second floor, glazed on the south-facing wall only. right A long bar that combines the rough (rusticwood cladding) and the smooth (butcher-block top) is perfectly complemented by Tolix Marais barstools, with pale-wood tops and metal bases finished in gunmetal grey.



above One of two curved corners with built-in banquettes offer League exceptional views of downtown Toronto. right Clusters of spherical lighting (Bolla by Sistemalux) grace one of the twin breakout areas; the high, rounded backs of Global’s modular River seating guarantee privacy. opposite Four massive, upholstered Silenzio acoustic suspension lamps from Luceplan help keep noise in the busy town hall from reaching into work areas. White walls, exposed ceilings and perforated-metal screens wrapping the pale-wood bleachers keep the space light and airy.



The town hall accommodates everything from all-staff meetings and parties to company-hosted yoga and knitting classes. It’s also a lunchroom, a social hub and at times a quiet space to work, think, rest.

communicate.” These democratic domains are often the snazziest in the office, as three recent Toronto projects by B|A illustrate. For Mill Street Brewery, the craft-beer indie purchased by Labatt in 2015, Bartlett transformed an unpromising industrial building just east of Don Mills Road into a contemporary headquarters. On the main floor are a striking reception area and a streamlined open office adjoining the actual brewery. Upstairs are glass-walled meeting rooms, private offices and a spacious bar for staff meetings, parties, product launches and tastings (true to its “crafty” roots, Mill Street regularly changes up its product line with special seasonal offerings).

Providing a change of pace, Crown Realty, a commercial real estate company, hired B|A to reimagine the lobby of an office tower on Yonge Street in Toronto’s North York district. That meant morphing it into an attractive, flexible space that could serve as an amenity for all the building’s tenants to enjoy, an extra place to work and a dramatic venue for all sorts of events. “It was a modest budget,” says Bartlett, “so we allocated costs according to impact and focused on a few key gestures.” The focal point is a laser-cut, black-metal screen — a biophilic art piece, anchor for the reception desk and acoustic intervention all in one — devised to play up the lobby’s best feature, its 30-foot-high ceilings. Designed by B|A and made by MCM, its perforations creating an abstract image of a forest. In front of the screen is a lounge area with smartly tailored seating. Running perpendicular to the screen, a contrasting white wall with a 3D surface suggests a rippling wall of water. Bartlett created the project’s public café by opening a disused storage room; crowned by a series of walnut slats, it’s defined by a high-back banquette adding a splash of colour with its tomato-red upholstery. “The goal was to make an impression on prospective tenants, but this is also a place where a lot of people will begin and end their workday,” says Bartlett. “We wanted to give them something equally tranquil and energetic.”

A sweeping, sunny space fitted with large screens and a projector, it’s surrounded on three sides by glass: glazing on the wall facing south and two walls of black-metal-framed glass from PC350, the latter playing up — along with floors of polished concrete — the industrial nature of the building. The fourth wall features an invigorating “Mill St.” mural, painted by a graffiti artist. A butcher-block-topped bar combines textural cuts of wood along its front, evoking the rustic appeal of beer casks. Easily reconfigurable, the space also serves as a cool spot to eat lunch. For League, a fast-growing tech firm that runs an innovative online platform for healthcare benefits, B|A designed an entire floor of an office tower in the Entertainment District. Conceived to appeal to a young staff, the space is “hip, comfortable and fun,” says Bartlett, with not one but five common areas. These comprise twin rounded corner lounges with built-in banquettes, offering fantastic city views; twin breakout spaces with high-backed modular seating to encourage private collaboration; and, the pièce de résistance, an expansive town hall. Overlooking Roy Thomson Hall to the east, the town hall is airy and nimble and entirely seductive. One end is defined by perpendicular blocks of stadium-style seating in pale-wood, framed by white perforated-metal screens. Custom-designed by Bartlett and constructed by MCM (Millworks Custom Manufacturing) the bleachers are equipped with power outlets so staff can easily plug in their laptops for solo or collaborative work. A long bar defines the other side, behind which a matte-subway-tiled wall conceals a fully stocked kitchen; tables in front, also custom-designed by B|A and built by MCM, echo the bleachers.

What lies ahead for B|A? Already in the works is another floor for League, along with some energizing residential work. A second lobby for Crown, this one featuring life-size sculptural trees, has been conceptualized. Edelman has again come calling, for a design update. “It’s the edit you get to do 10 years later, bringing it up to speed,” says Bartlett. Perhaps the most exciting project of all is one custom-made for a pair of avid balletomanes that are Bartlett and husband Marshal Stearns, who takes care of the firm’s business development: the headquarters of the National Ballet of Canada, on Queens Quay Boulevard in Toronto.


After 37 years in business, Inger Bartlett remains fully engaged and enthusiastic: “The great thing about design is it’s for everybody and it is everywhere.” 3/4 2020 CANADIAN INTERIORS

All Together Now



By Matthew Hague

There are qualities both tangible and intangible that set design-focused co-working spaces apart from the WeWorks out there.

Photography by Stephani Buchman

A couple of years ago, Rocco Verrilli and Carly Nemtean, co-founders of Carriage Lane Design-Build, realized their Mississauga office was no longer suitable. The bare-bones industrial space was originally a fabrication shop and didn’t reflect their colourful, modern aesthetic (a trademark seen on HGTV shows such as the Property Brothers and Love It or List It). Plus, their team had grown from two to six, crowding out the desks, and most of their clients were in downtown Toronto, not the ‘burbs, making meetings a trek. Finding a new setup wasn’t easy. “Everything we looked at was so expensive,” says Nemtean. “And we heard similar complaints from other designers, too. Friends would tell us they wanted to move their businesses out of their houses, but they didn’t want to spend $60,000 to lease and outfit an office. That’s a huge chunk of money for an independent designer.” Rather than take the easy way out (you know: stay put, be miserable and keep complaining), Verrilli and Nemtean decided to find a solution. Not only for their problem, but their friends’ problem as well. “We figured that if we could pool our resources with other designers, we’d all be better off,” says Nemtean. “We didn’t have a receptionist or space to receive packages. But we thought if there was a bunch of us together, maybe we could have those things.” The result, which launched in late 2019, is called The Collective, a 15,000-sq.-ft. co-working set-up. In a converted factory in Toronto’s Castlefield Design District (around the corner from many furniture and finishing suppliers), it has similar attributes to the shared offices that have been popularized by New York City start-up WeWork over the last decade. Beyond the bright reception area, there are dozens of socalled “hot desks” in a big open room for people who only need a work station a few hours a week (costs start at $99 per month), as well as a mix of more private offices for those who need dedicated desks (starting at $499 per month). There’s also playful perks, such as a soundproof, blue-walled booth for people who want to record their own podcasts, a mindfulness lounge with yoga mats and a kitchen dispensing limitless lattes from a fancy Italian coffee machine.

this spread Newly open in Toronto’s Castlefield Design District, The Collective Workspace is a co-working environment dedicated to architecture, interior design and custom build professionals. The layout is divided among different uses, such as casual seating, hot desking or dedicated studio office spaces.

But instead of being geared to millennial tech entrepreneurs — WeWork’s target demographic — The Collective is both by and for interior designers, as well as related professionals like architects, landscape architects and builders. The tenants are reflected through the space in both big and small ways. All the meeting rooms are named for celebrated practitioners: there’s a Kelly Wearstler room aptly decorated with a mirrored credenza and squiggly, eccentric wallpaper; as well as a white-





this spread, clockwise from top left A resource library fully stocked with vendor partners’ products is staffed by a full-time librarian. An energetic palette stimulates meetings in one of four closed spaces or lively conversation in a soundproof podcast booth. A shared reception area is where members and clients are greeted by a full-time concierge. A dedicated mindful space offers members yoga classes and serves as a venue for workshops and meetings of up to 45 people.

walled Eames Room with moulded plywood chairs. The materials library is over 2,000 square feet, with floor-to-ceiling shelves organized by supplier and displaying samples of tiles, upholstery fabrics, paint chips and more. There’s even an on-site librarian who keeps it all orderly and regularly connects with vendors to request their most current products. For those who want to bring in their own samples, there’s a loading bay where large packages, including furniture, can be dropped off. Although The Collective is Canada’s largest and most ambitious co-working space by and for designers — Verrilli and Nemtean raised about $1 million from investors and have capacity for up to 350 professionals — it is not the first or only endeavour of its kind. Other examples include Toronto’s Studio Workshop, started by architectural designer Nathan Buhler (founder of BLDG Workshop), and Calgary’s Seventy Seventy Design headquarters, started by interior designer LeAnne Bunnell. In Vancouver, interior designer Tara Lavoie has opened her office to co-working, offering relatively low rents (dedicated desks start at $575 per month with a six-month commitment) and pooled resources, for example tenants can sit in on her lunch and learns, share admin staff and access her product library. According to designers who use such spaces, the benefits go beyond having amenities tailored to the particularities of their professions (though that helps a lot: WeWork locations don’t typically have large-format printers, but designer-focused spaces offer them as standard because the tenants regularly need to print floor plans and construction drawings). Such facilities can also help shape their practices, providing a sense of comradery, even when someone is sitting amongst potential competitors. “We help solve each other’s problems,” says Yvonne Popovska, who runs DPo Architecture out of Toronto’s Studio Workshop, sitting at a table next to two or three other firms. “Nathan, from BLDG Workshop, has given me advice about zoning issues that I’m facing that he’s already been through. Sometimes we talk about business problems such as billing. You don’t get that kind of support working alone at home.” “We don’t just run the space, Carriage Lane are tenants here too,” says Verrilli. “It’s a huge bonus to be surrounded by our community, to be able to have spontaneous conversations and exchange ideas with other creative people.” Not everyone likes a hyper-social environment. “There’s a dichotomy in design between those who are really into collaboration and those who are more private and protectionist,” says Buhler. “I’m very open to other people, so co-working suits me well. Those who are more quiet tend to filter out from our space fairly quickly.” For co-working tenants, there is another bonus beyond forging new friendships. Because businesses such as The Collective can have so many designers all in one place, they get special attention from suppliers. Studio Workshop got a free kitchen from Greek manufacturers Centro with the expectation that lots of people will see the install. The Collective has had a lot of support from vendors, because “they know they can capture a large audience by being here” says Nemtean. “Sescolite supplied us a lot of great fixtures for our boardrooms and Caesarstone supplied us with surfaces for our boardroom tables.” Every product is labelled so designers can quickly reference the sourcing, and most of the supplied items at The Collective will change over time. “Our plan is to meet with vendors semi-annually, to see what they want back, and what can be swapped out for new items to refresh each space,” says Nemtean. “Designers are visual. We know that as designers ourselves. So we always want to have something new for them to look at, something new to inspire them and keep them engaged.”



Photo by Provoke Studios

over & out


The office is busier and louder than ever, and not in a good way.

A cacophony of dings, beeps, buzzes, and chatter; this is how most of us experience our work life. And the bigger problem is that we accept these conditions as normal. “We think, ‘This is just the reality of work in the Digital Age,’” says Joe McCormack, author of the new book Noise: Living and Leading When Nobody Can Focus. “We’ve forgotten how it feels not to be perpetually distracted.”

interrupted. “We can’t change the reality of our workplaces, but we can take small, doable steps that together help us better manage the overflow of priorities, requests, and challenges,” says McCormack. His book focuses on behaviour and lifestyle choices, hence suggestions to use tools like noise-cancelling headphones or even the oldfashioned handwritten “do not disturb” sign taped to your door (if you’re lucky enough to have one). But his statements sound as much like a clarion call to designers about making office space design decisions as it is to workers trying to do “deep work.”

By Peter Sobchak

Here are some alarming statistics from McCormack’s website, The Brief Lab: professionals check their email 36 times an hour and their phone 150 times per day; they’re interrupted 50 times per day; they have an eight-second attention span; and 92 per cent of people multitask during meetings. Damn! How does anyone get any work done? Some would say we don’t. Noise hurts our attention span, impacts our brain and working memory, and eventually causes us to stop caring and listening, says McCormack. For example, consider the interruptions that break your concentration multiple times a day. Now consider that it takes 25 minutes to get back into the swing of things when you’ve been CANADIAN INTERIORS 3/4 2020


I must admit, I laughed when acoustic pods first came on the market. These free-standing sound installation units attempting to solve privacy challenges in open workspace layouts were intended to ensure that personal calls didn’t disturb the rest of the office. Now I’m laughing again, but for the opposite reason: they are now inhabited by employees trying to escape Chloe’s 20-minute soliloquy about the dualities of being a Gemini. Pods aren’t a solution; they’re a Band-Aid. We need designers to step in and use the power of design to help protect our greatest career assets: our attention and our focus.

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Canadian interiors March April 2020  

Canadian Interiors is Canada’s leading magazine targeted at interior design professionals. Since its launch in 1964, the magazine is a must...

Canadian interiors March April 2020  

Canadian Interiors is Canada’s leading magazine targeted at interior design professionals. Since its launch in 1964, the magazine is a must...