Sep 2, 2014 -- Edelman PR in Toronto, one of 65 locations globally for the world’s largest independent PR firm, was looking to transition from a dated, private office culture to a dynamic open plan for their Canadian head office. The client wanted an energetic, collaborative space with a democratic feel and hip culture where staff could interact and chill out.
Specific objectives included a creative global communications brand with local character, inspirational contemporary space that enhances teamwork and collaboration, and multifunctional space that drives a sense of Edelman community among staff.
The project is characterized by three powerful design aspects--a boutique hotel lobby as Reception, a series of super-scaled photographic murals juxtaposed with glass boxes creating a dynamic architectural interplay, and a Reception /Café /Outdoor Patio axis with multifunction space for clients and staff.
These concepts create a tension with synergy within the space that contributes to the success of the project.
The project was collaborative from day one. Our firm worked with local Edelman representatives and coordinated with a US-based Project Manager throughout. The creative solution was developed within general corporate guidelines from New York – most importantly the mandate for open plan space. Transitioning from the world of private offices to open plan was managed with local management through creating advocates among the staff, using presentation drawings and elevations, and with favourable ‘war stories’ from the US-based head office.
An inspirational source was the design firm’s artistic collaboration with local landscape photographer Nelson French to provide a Canadian presence. Black and white images, relating to the view out the windows, were positioned in meeting rooms – but also show up as super-scaled wall murals washed with bright colours. A duality is played out in the urban and garden references and in the plan and horizon perspectives of the images. Opposite the wall murals are the framed black and white photographs, reminding us of the origins of the inspiration.
Sustainability was considered in the concept stage through the specification of local materials, access to daylight and views, energy-saving lighting, low emission paints and finishes and other ergonomics and safety considerations.