As cities the world over face empty office districts, many employers are looking for ways to create more exciting workspaces. Where better to turn for inspiration than the realm of video games? After all, game designers are responsible for creating immersive, eye-catching worlds, and their offices often boast this same sense of imagination. Video game publisher 2K’s newest location is no exception. 2K approached local firm ACDF with a simple brief: create an office for its new Cloud Chamber studio that would stand out amongst competitors in the gaming hub of Montreal.
The firm settled on a 2,800-square-metre space in Westmount, on the fifth floor of a former data centre for a bank credit card company. ACDF describes its approach for the office renovation as “more akin to a boutique hotel than a tech headquarters.” The studio drew inspiration from the clean lines and materials of mid-century residences, playing with proportions, sightlines and a sleek monochromatic colour palette.
The open-concept space — which has been subdivided into clusters — can accommodate over 150 people. A zone has been designated for each team, with desks separated by existing structures and closed volumes (like utility areas and the elevator shaft) rather than traditional walls. The result is a non-linear circulation pattern that promotes spontaneous interactions between colleagues to foster a stronger team culture.
These enclosed volumes are unified by a warm palette of copper, wood and tinted glass. The entryway, front desk, private offices and coat storage follow a similar design language to create a sense of rhythm throughout the open plan. Pale oak cabinetry, polished concrete floors and subdued yet elegant furnishings make for a retro-futuristic atmosphere. Subtly dramatic lighting throughout not only sets the mood but also contours the space, creating the impression of more expansive ceilings.
One of the major objectives was to accommodate the employees’ diverse needs. While developers tend to prefer darker, distraction-free spaces for focused independent work, other employees required energetic, collaborative zones. ACDF balanced these competing priorities by carving out dimly lit areas where developers could focus, and more open interior “gardens,” where greenery and fresh white ceilings bathed in natural light create optimal spaces for team-based tasks. They are outfitted with wood decking, black metal structures, supports for writing boards and white curtains, which can be opened and closed depending on the level of privacy needed.
It was here that the firm leveraged the existing windows which pop out from the façade. “We took advantage of the building’s three-dimensional envelope and used its natural nooks to differentiate between zones,” explains ACDF partner Joan Renaud.
But despite the contrast of light and dark which drives the design, 2K’s Montreal office is cohesive across its public and private programs, imbued with a warm ambiance throughout. Juxtaposing hospitality-like social areas with more residential-feeling focused spaces, the office is designed with flexibility in mind. In other words, it’s fit for the era of hybrid work.
ACDF balances light, dark, privacy and openness in the design of video game publisher 2K’s new Montreal workspace.