Good work

After all these years, I still get that “back to school” feeling around the end of August. This year it came earlier in the month, as the separate elements of this issue started coming together. Seeing the first layouts brought on that bracing, end-of-summer feeling of excitement and anticipation, renewed purpose and new possibilities. Entirely fitting, since the theme of September/October is “Back to work.” And entirely welcome, since I had greeted August -the laziest month of the year, which virtually all of Europe takes off -feeling lazy indeed.

At the heart of this issue is a 21-page section devoted to four fantastic offices.

The new Toronto digs of global advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi (“Ideas factory,” page 46), designed by Bartlett & Associates, is a perfect example of today’s anti-office so popular with creative types. The main lobby, meeting rooms and other public areas are entirely fluid places, where work and socializing can coexist in peaceful harmony. Throughout the office, design icons (such as the reissued 1959 Heart Cone chair from Vitra) share space with Canadiana (including a whimsical deer head made of twisted wire).

The two design studios featured -one in Toronto, the other in Calgary -were created by and for Cohos Evamy integratedesign (“A tale of two offices,” page 57). Like the Saatchi & Saatchi office, they are nonhierarchical, with bosses occupying the same space as employees. Both express Cohos Evamy’s corporate commitment to green, efficient design. In the Toronto studio (LEED Gold), an austere aesthetic rules, from a spare reception area to a work area with a knocked-together simplicity. In contrast, the Calgary studio (LEED Silver) has the feel of elegant and vast loft. At its centre is a broad open-riser wooden staircase connecting the office’s two levels -ideal for impromptu meetings.

The new Ontario Investment and Trade Centre in Toronto (“Buy local,” page 67), designed by G. Bruce Stratton Architects, is a government space that hosts potential investors in the province. Like the Saatchi & Saatchi office, it is proudly Canadian (highlighting the materials and craftsmanship available in Ontario); like the Cohos Evamy design studios, it is green (LEED Silver). Its centrepiece is a grand galleria, featuring a sloping, slatted ceiling inspired by the inside of a canoe.

Such good work makes my work a pleasure.

Michael Totzke [email protected]