Renovating an office space is no small task and requires plenty of proactive planning to keep work-flow fluid and relatively uninterrupted. So when a growing group of urban planning specialists at Urban Systems was bursting at the seams in their heritage office in the Yarrow Building, it was instinctive to plan ahead and set themselves up for renovation success. They turned to the design team at Monk Office to explore layout options, innovative furniture and design solutions. The reno involved gutting side-by-side spaces in the Yarrow building to create a brighter open plan corner office that would include both private and collaborative spaces.
“While some of the other Urban System offices across Canada try to recreate the heritage elements of their offices, the Victoria division wanted a more modern approach to the interior of this 100+-year-old building. But we still have windows that open and a boiler in the basement that creaks and bangs when it fires up,” adds Dan Huang, Senior Planner and Principal at Urban Systems. Squaring of millwork and wall solutions proved to be a challenge in the character building so Urban Systems worked with Goodison Construction to level the uneven flooring and ensure quality installation.
The primary inspiration for the redesign was to create a welcoming, open and collaborative workspace that would accommodate the growing team at Urban Systems. The interior design team at Monk recommended the DIRTT Office System based on the modular system’s clean modern aesthetic, embedded technology, and reconfiguration ability. To add or remove offices or transform two offices into a boardroom without a lot of downtime or construction chaos was a significant draw.
“To modernize the bright corner office and pay homage to the century-old architecture of the building, Herman Miller furniture offers the clean-lined classic look they were trying to attain,” says Monk designer, Emily Scott. Since its launch almost 25 years ago, the Herman Miller Aeron chair has become one of the world’s most iconic office chairs and boasts superior ergonomics that include various types of lumbar support. Adjusting to a user’s unique posture, the Aeron chair ensures the maximum in comfort and support during long hours of sitting. Cushion top mobile cabinets are functional and act as quick seats when necessary. Milliken carpet tiles keep things modern underfoot and are easy to maintain.
“Urban Systems offices are often located in heritage spaces, so keeping elements of the building’s architecture and highlighting the large windows was important to the overall design. We wanted to bring a modern streamlined look with bold accent colours to tie into their corporate branding,” says Scott.
Herman Miller Setu chairs were chosen for their modern aesthetic as well as their unparalleled ergonomics. They passively adjust and support your weight as you sit without having to adjust any mechanisms. Walnut veneer millwork designed by Monk Office Interiors was built and installed by David H Moore Cabinetry.
Huang adds that “we are very excited to have the first “living wall” in the company, which is located in our main boardroom. The DIRTT breathe wall is a highlight for every guest and client who comes to visit our office and provides extra oxygen for those long meetings.”
One of the most notable benefits of the DIRTT Wall System starts with the design process. DIRTT uses 3-D software to create an interactive walk-through so clients are able to get a feel for the layout and make any changes prior to construction. DIRTT sit-to-stand desks optimize space utilization and provide opportunities for reconfiguration as the needs of the space change. The ergonomic desk makes moving from sitting to standing, and back again, a natural part of your day.
“The Monk Office team provided a truly ‘one stop shopping’ experience, which included everything from interior design, DIRTT wall installation, new furniture, printers, cabinetry, labour and office supplies. They were responsive throughout the design and construction phase, including adjusting to scheduling delays which was out of their control.”