Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.
Describe this project in one word.
How does this project demonstrate design impact?
We needed to find a clever way to inject life into the building on a tight budget. The solution came in the way of new flooring. We merged colour and pattern to give direction, connecting different zones without the need for expensive structural elements or signage. Multicoloured herringbone carpet tiles flow out from the general flooring, highlighting specific areas and
facilitating natural meeting points for staff.
Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.
Our starting point was a series of dark, dilapidated buildings, disconnected from each other. Our challenge was to create a connected and collaborative office with minimal structural change. By creating strategic openings between buildings we were able to utilize an abandoned courtyard space. The resultant infill space now functions as an informal meeting and working area, complementing the more formal office zones and bringing in much needed natural light. We wanted to highlight the flow of space through each opening in order to enhance the feeling of connectivity. In order to do this, a minimal materials palette was adopted. Singular finishes flow through and up, drawing the eye forward and into adjoining spaces.
Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.
With a tight budget, it was apparent that would need to minimize changes made to the existing buildings and come up with a clever way of connecting them. Having a low budget doesn’t necessarily mean you can do less with the space, you just need to be more creative in the way you do it. A lot of care was taken to create openings in the most strategic locations to open up sightlines throughout the office and bring in the outdoors. There is a new feeling of openness.
On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?
This project strongly reflects the current trend of bringing the outside in. Sightlines were opened up throughout the space, allowing natural light to flow through giving dark corners a new life and energy.
Bringing plants into office spaces is becoming the norm. They are not only visually appealing but invigorate the office atmosphere by bringing in oxygen. Complimentary styles add a new organic energy to an otherwise corporate interior.