A Breaking Bad style linen factory, custom built murals, ancient buildings and more… step on in
Being the fine creative folk that we are in the ad industry, the offices in which we go about our work don’t tend to be too shabby on the eye either. We at LBB have encountered some in our time that we’d perhaps like to live in more than our own homes (in some kind of strange, sadistic way). But you get our point – they pip the humdrum blandness associated with insurance brokers (sorry insurance brokers). So for this feature, LBB’s Addison Capper is headed to Canada to check out some of the coolest offices in this most beautiful of countries. In no particular order, here goes!
1. Mile Inn Toronto
Christina Brown, Creative Director
"Recently launched production collective Mile Inn occupies a newly redesigned townhouse in the heart of downtown Toronto. The collective is made up of specialised production boutiques Morrison (commercials and photography), Apollo Studios (music and audio post-production), Popp Rok (branded content and music videos) and 1One Productions (experiential activations and virtual reality).
"The space was conceived to feel like a boutique hotel and attract the growing independent creative workforce as well as agency creatives and producers wanting to spend time with content makers and artists. Each room is distinct in its design, creating an eclectic but welcoming vibe."
2. One Twenty Three West
Scot Keith, Founder, President/CEO
"Our business model is ‘Low Overhead. High Talent.’ We spend as little as we can on things such as office space and we invest those savings in hiring better people who then do better work for our clients. When we first launched, we were in Jeff Harrison's (Co-founder, Executive Creative Director) garage. So when we outgrew it, we were looking for a unique place. We found the Alsco linen factory in the Olympic Village area of Vancouver. The building is over 100 years old. They used to deliver laundry via horse and buggy.
"The offices we are in were abandoned for over 35 years. The place was perfect for us. We cleaned it up, put a new kitchen and bathroom in and we now have over 27 people in the office. It's definitely unique and can best be described as like the meth lab in ‘Breaking Bad’ combined with the old ‘Mad Men’ look and hidden like a British spy agency. There's a fur locker in the next room that still has some forgotten fur coats since the 1960s. On the far side of the building, it's a fully operational commercial cleaning company. They also film a lot of TV shows and movies in the building. So it's not uncommon on any given day for us to be doing our work while the Alsco employees are cleaning clothes and the ‘Green Arrow’ super hero is walking around getting ready for his next shot."
3. McCann Toronto
Caroline Murphy, SVP, Brand Development
"On July 1st 2016, McCann celebrated our 101st anniversary in Canada and moved into our new home on Wellington Street West in the heart of downtown Toronto. McCann Canada’s main reception is located on the newly renamed 13th Floor – we lobbied the building to change the 14th floor to the 13th floor to reflect our agency’s long standing tradition with the number 13 (Harrison McCann started working his first major job on October 13 and the H.K. McCann Co. agency was incorporated on November 13, 1911). As you exit the elevator to enter our reception you are greeted by the Truth Well Told logo embedded in the concrete floor - each letter was individually poured, sanded and coated several times to achieve a smooth surface.
"In our new space, we chose to support local up and coming artists, by partnering with a local curator (Nadia Kakridonis, Twist Gallery) to create a rotating gallery in the office. Every six months on rotation, local artists can feature their pieces in our gallery. Other notable features include custom one-of-a-kind permanent art installations, curated from employees and local artists alike. Installations include a custom wire art depiction of Harrison King which dons one of our main boardrooms, a wall showcasing 3D printed models or our employees, and a dog wall where we can share personal photos of our pets."
Shelley Raymond, Director of Talent & Culture, Anomaly Toronto
"In 2012, New York creative agency Anomaly opened its doors in Toronto with a six-person crew headed by Franke Rodriguez. To attract some of Canada's top talent, the Anomaly office was designed to be both inspiring and fun - a great place where people would want to hang out. The office design ranges from mellow to motor, with high energy spaces for creativity and cool, quiet spots to relax and take five. To burn off energy, employees can play ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, or darts. When it's time to relax, the office has two fully stocked bars, a massage room and a video game lounge. Until recently they even had a half-pipe for skateboarding practice, but had to get rid of it for liability reasons.
The office also features creative installations, including a skateboard wall designed by local high school students. A Kevin Lyons mural greets visitors in the reception area. Breakout and meeting rooms feature custom art by graffiti artists and Anomaly's own in-house talent, including creative catalyst Bryan Espiritu. And their recently opened full production studio boasts a mural from Toronto's own Hatecopy."
5. Partners Film
Gigi Realini, President & Executive Producer
"Good spaces grow good ideas, and that's part of the thinking here at Partners Film. Our spacious, open concept office is situated in Toronto's historic Distillery District in a late 19th century building. Once home to a major malting operation, the interiors are a textural mix of old meets new – exposed brick, wood beams and copper pipes integrated into glass separators and metal handlebars. We find it reflective of our production company, one that combines depth of production experience and history with new and fresh approaches and personnel.
"The space is clean and simple, and that's where we find the beauty of it. Our philosophy is to create beautiful things without over complicating the process. The glass and open spaces lend themselves to a friendly and social environment. It's a fantastic gathering space with large open areas and seating to foster a family atmosphere where directors and clients can intermingle. Classic and contemporary, all in one."
6. Saints Editorial
Tory Osler, Executive Producer and Designer
"Saints Editorial is a boutique film editing shop in the heart of Toronto’s advertising community. The company was forged three years ago when two leading post shops joined forces to become a leading independent post production facility, providing clients with top-tier creative talent and unmatched hospitality.
"In designing the space, I balanced the virtues of comfort, minimalism and restraint with playful art direction to create a premier creative experience. From the vintage beer fridge found on Kijiji to stock our clients’ beer and Thursday night festivities to original art deco kitchen bar pendant lights and wall sized Alec Soth photography, encompassed within a mostly black and white palette, the space is a standout."
7. Giants & Gentlemen
Gino Cantalini, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer
"In August 2016, Giants & Gentlemen moved into our new space on the top floor of the historic Gendron Building at 411 Richmond St. East in Toronto. The Gendron, built in 1895, is a fine example of brick and beam design and Architects Luc Bouliane wanted to to retain as much of the original decor as possible and create a modern workspace around it. It was also important that the G&G brand be reflected throughout, both in the colour scheme (red, white, grey) and the overall environment (classic and contemporary).
"The final result is a look that’s akin to a contemporary take on a gentlemen’s club. Not everything, however, is new. Quaint reminders of the agency’s old space on Berkley Street, like the old-timey red beer fridge and the Ping-Pong table (no longer the only spot to hold important meetings), were brought over to preserve a sense of culture and have become an integral part of the new office."
8. Sid Lee Montreal
Michael Di Staulo, Manager, PR & Communications, Sid Lee
"We are located in the "Cité du Multimédia" of Montreal, an area that houses a majority of the city's business and tech companies. It is now 15 years that we have been in this area, and we were the first major tenant in it too. Much of the interior of our office space was designed by Sid Lee Architecture, which takes up the first two floors of the multi-office building. Both Sid Lee Architecture and Sid Lee Studio have designated wing-like areas located on the second floor.
All our office areas are an open-concept, allowing for a more collaborative work environment. Other amenities include a full service bistro with two chefs who prepare healthy lunch time and snack options for all employees. We also have two communal work areas for employees to work or congregate in as well as a meditation room for some down time. Just across the street from us at 8 Queen is our multi-function room where we host a multitude of employee events, conferences, etc."