Business should come before pleasure, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy—so Steelcase has combined the two in this new facility. The WorkLife
Center is designed as an open office for mobile working with no distinction
between workspace and sales floor, freeing employees to tinker with whatever
new offerings the company is crafting while simultaneously demonstrating
them to prospective clients.
But creating this space was no simple to-do. Steelcase located a residual
space on the top floor of a commercial high-rise building in Toronto’s financial
district that was previously used for storage. Although spanning 10,000
square feet, the space had drawbacks: it was long, narrow, and featured
24-foot high ceilings. Designing it was both challenging and exciting, said
Meg Graham, principal at superkül, architect of the project.
“The space had never been leased. It was empty for 30 years,” she said.
“It also kinks and bends at each end, so the proportions are unconventional.
The challenge was because it’s so large, you don’t want to lose its rhythm—
or the people in it.”
The firm’s primary objective was to mediate the space’s scale to allow
Steelcase to organize its offerings there. The solution? “The playful—and very
architectural—use of three rhombus-shaped pods,” said Graham.
The pods strategy allowed superkül to frame the environment by creating
endpoints and viewpoints within it, explained Graham. “The first thing you
see off the elevator is the entry and oasis space, and the curtainwall beyond,”
she said, adding that the fully glazed southwest wall lets in abundant natural
light and breathtaking views of Toronto’s downtown business district, which
Steelcase seeks to outfit.
The elevator acts as the layout’s core with the first pod located in the
interiorsandsources.com MAY 2015 INTERIORS & SOURCES 87
LEFT + ABOVE Designed to accommodate mobile workers
and appeal to potential clients, the three pods offer a
variety of functions and services.