Artscape Daniels Launchpad

The Artscape Daniels Launchpad is an arts-focused co-working space that blends diverse artist and maker studios with entrepreneurial training programs and resources.

Photo Credit: Adrien Williams

Designed by Quadrangle, this facility for creatives is a place where members can build peer connections to launch their practices and where businesses can easily recruit talent.

Strategically located in Daniels City of Arts, a new commercial building on Toronto’s waterfront, the design team transformed the 33,000 square foot space into a luminous, accessible, and tech-enabled facility that would inspire creativity and professionalism equally.

A key challenge was how artists and creative entrepreneurs are often accustomed to working in older, repurposed spaces. In response, the design team wanted to treat users to a purpose-built space tailored to their needs while also giving Launchpad a familiar look and feel. They sought to design “just enough” to establish a clear physical brand personality, and to support networking and community as well as pride and workplace flexibility, while also not distracting from the focus on networking, learning and things being made.

Photo Credit: Bob Gundu

Photo Credit: Adrien Williams

The space is complex, and so a single connecting corridor from north to south forms a spine or “main street” to give the interior order. It is lined on both sides by open seating booths resembling houses and the glass “storefronts” of workshops and breakout meeting rooms.

To the north, various makers’ workshops are housed in raw concrete spaces with touches of colour through furnishings and lighting. To inspire a workshop feeling, the designers incorporated industrial lighting, augmenting the natural light that floods in through the generous windows that also offer expansive views of downtown Toronto.

Photo Credit: Adrien Williams

In the woodworking studio, an independent concrete acoustical floor slab keeps the sometimes-noisy work done there from disturbing occupants on other floors. South of the corridor are studios for quieter work requiring less light such as photography and broadcast media.

At the west end of the corridor is Sugar Hall, a “blackbox” event space that can be subdivided into three smaller rooms, and offering a sweeping view of the harbour and the Redpath Sugar Refinery.

Adjacent are project rooms that can host meetings, start-ups or long-term projects, each with their own aesthetic personality. At the north end, the Commons, a large co-working and social space, includes an open kitchen and “living room” with an eclectic mix of new and vintage furnishings that help users to feel at home, including a mobile faux fireplace. In addition to places for members to socialize, network, and make things, the space also houses Artscape’s new headquarters.

To offset the building’s newness, many finishes are upcycled or handmade. There are tabletops made from reclaimed wood, and a “board room” with floors and walls finished with wood flooring salvaged from a high-school gymnasium — a cheeky visual pun that gives this businesslike space warmth and vitality.