Office, Sweet Office: Perkins + Will

Perkins + Will, Toronto

Design: Perkins + Will / Lead designers: Martha del Junco and Jon Loewen


Exposed concrete waffle-slabs were used as a unifying element, with soft, natural finishes including wood, cork and leather as a striking contrast.

Perkins + Will’s move to an office in downtown Toronto represents not only a geographical shift from its previous midtown location; it also signals a transformation of the design environment and culture. To create a flexible space that would stand out as a fun place to work, the design team turned the lens on the needs of the staff. Seeing the studio community as their client, they picked the employees’ brains to find out what they liked in their pre-move office and quizzed them on where and how they felt their workspace could be improved. In addition to these qualitative interviews, del Junco and Loewen led quantitative analyses of the way the staff used the old office, forming the basis for a shared design vision.


Located close to public transit and amenities such as shopping and restaurants, the new office was a move up for the employees. But it came with a trade-off: a smaller footprint. To maximize the space and respond to the staff’s wishes for more flexibility and collaboration, del Junco and Loewen delineated the space by inserting a millwork spine down the centre of the floorplate, providing storage and separation between work and social areas. Individual workstations are now up for grabs; rather than an employee always using the same desk, they can claim any space or desk that’s free. The new office may be smaller than the former midtown location, but it’s big on solutions that put creative minds together or help staff find a private nook for reflection.

Photography by Scott Norsworthy