office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers (omb) has developed the new offices of telecommunications firm TELUS located in Vancouver, British Columbia.
omb was hired to create a thoroughly modern interior t-out for the company’s 1000 employee office that would reflect its brand through an environment that would be understated and functional, warm and inviting and celebrating of its locale—Canada’s West Coast landscape. They wanted the interiors to underscore TELUS’ company values (innovation, teamwork, growth, change and opportunity); and also demonstrate the brand’s stature through the most state-of the-art workplace technologies.
Creating a distinct sense of place, omb imbued the complex with local materials, particularly natural toned wood, interior gardens and art. Setting the overall tone for the complex, the welcoming, wood-clad lobby/reception area was framed with an omb- designed screen of abstracted leaf petals derived from TELUS branding, compressing the space and creating a sense of release in the multi-storey sky lobby garden. Inserted into this double height four storey space, floating “skybox meeting rooms,” an architectural first in Vancouver, increase programming capacity, link and animate every floor, merge the public and private realms and give users a memorable connection to the city. These oat over raised gardens planted with live trees and shrubs – recalling many offices of the post-modern period, but not in vogue for many years.
The design team initiated and curated a comprehensive, customized art program to ensure the integration of art, interior design and client vision from the earliest stages. Founded on a nature-based theme – ‘Materials of Meaning’, the artworks, all by Canadian artists, express at different levels of abstraction the role of copper, wood and textiles as means to transfer knowledge, celebrate history and connect people.
Embracing TELUS’ combination of resident and mobile workers, omb fitted the headquarters with varied meeting spaces to foster different work styles, all fully yet discreetly wired. Offering differing levels of interaction along with acoustic and visual privacy, a variety of collaborative areas were constructed. The varied workspaces include standing touchdown (mobile) workstations along with formal meeting rooms, telepresence conference facilities and various lounges, designed to promote impromptu collaborations and teamwork. Interior gardens and planted roof decks also function as meeting places and provide a unique connection of workspace to the exterior landscape with dramatic views of the city and its natural mountain and ocean context. Special amenities, such as Café Fresh for staff and an extensive kitchen/lounge foster an office environment that values team building. Various spaces illustrate TELUS’ dynamic and multifaceted approach to telecommunications, including The Innovation Centre, where development teams test and showcase nascent technologies, ideas and concepts, as well as the TELUS Studios, where production teams develop branded documentary shorts in house.
With great attention to quality of space, light, views, art, furnishings and finishes, from the urban scale to the individual elements, omb crafted interiors that combine a sense of importance and modesty, timelessness and flexibility, capturing the essence of TELUS’ brand and leadership in Canadian and international telecommunications.
Design: office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers
Project Team: Principal-in-Charge: Michelle Biggar | Supporting Principal: Steve McFarlane | Project Associate: Tracey MacTavish | Others: Hozumi Nakai, Joshua Lunn
Photography: Andrew Latreille, Ema Peter