The client wanted to respect the existing structure’s features, including an open interior defined by orange brick walls and a network of massive beams and pillars bearing the marks of an industrial past. Landini Associates, which has also revamped the interiors for Canadian grocer Loblaws, elected to refresh these surfaces with a thorough sandblasting, but left them raw to create a textured background for a series of minimalist interventions.
Converting a cavernous former warehouse into office space always poses a challenge, but here, the team faced another turn of the screw: a sloping site that placed the entrances, at opposite ends of the structure, at vastly different levels.
To resolve the issue, they divided the main floor laterally into two main sections. Facing the street, the public entrance leads up concrete stairs to a foyer surrounded by operational spaces, including meeting rooms and a boardroom, a staff breakout space, and – most important – the Tea Bar, a cafe space in black, like the company’s logo, serving tea to the public; the company’s logo in tiny light bulbs greets visitors to the scene. A partition separates these communal zones from the office space, which takes advantage of the warehouse’s height, with natural illumination provided by several skylights.
On the back wall, situated at the site’s high end, the employee entrance sits several feet above the floor. Here, Landini Associates inserted a dramatic runway that extends the length of the office floor, leading staff into the centre of the building before terminating in a landing at the rear of the cafe.
A truncated second floor sits atop the communal spaces; it houses the CEO’s office, as well as a creative studio and a lab for preparing and tasting new varieties of tea. The second floor eschews the charcoal palette used below, and instead favours an all-white suite of seating and shelving. Throughout the interior, oversized pivoting steel doors with smoky glass panels define each space while marrying the structure’s inherent industrial feel to the company’s signature tones.