In our Workspace series, CB offers interesting, cleverly designed and unique spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces to unconventional setups, like this beauty company that no longer has a rural farm and this carbon-bike company located in a former car body – we want to show the most unique and beautiful spaces from all sectors. This month we profile the office of KPMB Architects in Toronto.
KPMB Architects has operated out of the same 19th-century industrial brick warehouse in Toronto’s entertainment district since 1987, spanning approximately 1,579 square feet over two floors. The company has worked on high-profile projects across the continent, including the renovation and expansion of Toronto’s Massey Hall and Boston University’s Center for Computing & Data Sciences. But in 2018, the company was notified that their office building was being redeveloped; they had just under a year to find a new place, renovate and move in. Two KPMB Architects partners, Paulo Rocha and Kevin Bridgman, were commissioned to source and co-design a space where their staff of 110, including marketing and business development teams, would be able to work, collaborate and brainstorm together.
After Rocha and Bridgman secured a lease for the entire 2,322 square foot 12th floor of Toronto’s Globe and Mail Centre, Rocha and Bridgman mapped out a design that echoed the company’s own ethos for office interiors. Instead of executive offices occupying the most important space along external glass walls, KPMB opts for a more equitable layout with all employees standing next to each other in rows of open desks. “There’s nothing more hierarchical than private offices with lots of windows,” Bridgman explains. “Everyone else gets very little light if executives decide to leave their blinds closed.”
White oak hardwood was used for the floors and walls of the office’s central conference and meeting rooms, echoing the heritage feel of their previous office. “The warmth of the wood beams and ceilings of our original workplace inspired us to introduce a similar warmth to our new space,” says Rocha.
The company also benefited from numerous upgrades from their previous office. They went from three meeting rooms to 12, including a boardroom with retractable glass walls that can accommodate large team-wide meetings and events, such as town halls. The old office did not have enough space for a lunchroom, but the new space has become a natural meeting place for employees to meet over coffee and meals. KPMB’s lunch lounge features black leather and blue armchairs from HAY’s About A Lounge chair series, a 4-meter high island clad in SapienStone porcelain, and Andreu World oak communal tables.
The company has now grown to 155 people with a hybrid work model where staff work in person three days a week. Here’s a look inside.