Experiential graphic design as a complement to the architecture and interiors creates a sophisticated and dynamic environment at Deloitte’s new national office.
It’s clear that changing work styles are affecting how professional spaces are being organized and used. Deloitte has embraced this collective shift by a corporate commitment to workplaces designed for the future. Deloitte’s Bay Adelaide East office in Toronto is a realization of this vision with a space that is not simply for work, but also for community. Architecture, interior design and graphics merge into an environment intended to inspire, encourage, engage, and cultivate growth, learning and collaboration.
Deloitte’s Bay Adelaide East office occupies the first sixteen floors of 22 Adelaide St. W., for a total of 420,000 sq. ft. of office space. Much of it reservable on an as needed basis. Professionals have access to private work areas, open lounges, and social spaces like cafes and bistros. Merging the professional with the social, this state-of-the-art facility is purposefully designed for flexibility.
Working in partnership with Deloitte, Entro was called upon to develop visual strategies that would enrich their office environment by building out cohesive and engaging environmental graphics aligned with Deloitte’s architectural vision.
“Deloitte’s corporate vision focuses on creating progressive spaces for employees,” says Entro’s Rae Lam, project manager on Deloitte, “our role was conceptualizing how we could elevate the interiors graphically and contribute to positive experiences for employees, helping them thrive.”
Our aim was to create a favourable connection to the workspace, to stimulate notions of locality, of Toronto, of ‘home.’ Udo Schliemann, Entro’s Principal Creative Director explains, “There is an authenticity with themes that relate to Toronto, real and historic…by giving each floor a different character or flavour, people are able to choose an area they want to work in.” The wall graphics subtly blend into the architecture, create the feeling of a sophisticated, modern-styled home.
Environmental graphics were key on the tower floors (7-16), enhancing short-term meeting rooms, collaboration spaces and workstations. In a context where space is transitional, often booked for a relatively short length of time, there is very little that is personal to professionals. Environmental graphics are important for defining the space.
“People tend to stay in an environment they like, there is value in creating that connection,” says Udo. As part of Deloitte’s desire to emphasize place, a selection of local historical images were sourced. This involved significant research and appropriate selection to achieve the desired result.
In and of themselves, the privacy films are the result of months of testing for optimal transparency and coverage to ensure appropriate levels of privacy on each floor. Initially, staff found the proposed coverage too dominant and requested it be scaled back. Through further testing, input and discussion we achieved a result that was a good balance between privacy and openness.
Udo summarizes, “With conventional privacy films you feel blocked off, [at Deloitte] privacy films on closed offices are private, but still open enough that you feel you are part of what’s going on.”
At walk stations – semi-private rooms with treadmills that double as desks – we worked closely with Toronto photographer Michael Mahovolich to create images that add vibrancy to the station, with a continuation of level theming.
Deloitte University – an area designated to specialized employee training – received a customized treatment to distinguish the space, yet tie in with themes of Canadiana. A series of photographic collages, an interpretation of Canada East to West, create a refreshing dreamscape that contrasts the dark stained cedar wood walls and narrow corridors. Printed on vinyl and sandwiched between glass, the collages give the illusion of being backlit. Senior designer Jacqueline Tang, elaborates, “Scenic photographs of Canada were selected to create surreal landscapes that would evoke emotional responses, meanwhile complementing the paintings and sculptures specifically curated for the University.”
Creating privacy films (also “glass manifestations”) to adorn over 24,000 sq. ft. of plain glass was important for extending and unifying theming, while creating intrigue through variation. On each level colour in combination with a pattern of dots, lines or facets was applied systematically. Likewise, glass manifestations carry these same patterns. Though applied using an adhesive film, they give the appearance of being etched into the glass, blending seamlessly with the surrounding graphics.
In many instances graphic treatments were adapted to accommodate uncommon finishes or interiors. This involved defining and sourcing materials that required custom fabrication and installation. For example, the Deloitte University logo was installed on a slat wall, meeting rooms used clear ink for privacy, and several installations were applied to textile wall coverings. Our ability to test products and determine appropriate solutions contributes to a holistic approach that gives cohesion to the space.
With an appreciation for our creative approach, Deloitte was willing to explore somewhat unconventional ideas that contribute to a more cohesive interior. We proposed that the level indicators be worked into the millwork of all elevator lobbies. In collaboration with the millwork trade, we were able to customize the wood treatment at the lobbies in order that the graphics integrated seamlessly. The subtlety of the result contributes to its sophistication.
The Deloitte Bay Adelaide East project presents more than environmental graphics “added” to a space. It demonstrates how architecture, interior design, art and graphics can all speak the same language to give vitality to a typically static office into a memorable, engaging environment that leads to a positive user experience. For Deloitte the quality of their work is now reflected in their office environment.