Location: Montreal, Canada
Type: Interiors – Offices
Architects: Arney Fender Katsalidis
Photographs: James Brittain
London-based, architecture and interiors practice Arney Fender Katsalidis has completed a 160,000sqft office space in Quebec, Canada for internationally renowned professional services firm Deloitte. Located in Montreal between Windsor Station and the Bell Centre, La tour Deloitte was named for its anchor tenant. Deloitte occupies seven floors of the 24-floor, 514,000sqft building.
Deloitte required regional headquarters that would be used as a business tool to realise its aim of becoming the employer of choice across its myriad of business units. Deloitte needed a space that fostered creativity, innovation and productivity, but that also provided tailored spaces for all types of work and all types of workers in their multidisciplinary firm.
Earle Arney, Chief Executive of Arney Fender Katsalidis, notes, “The charge from Deloitte was clear. Choose a building with great bones and transform the base into a highly connected workplace. What resulted was a two year journey, selecting and modifying a typical rise in downtown Montreal and giving life to the space by bold and thoughtful adaptations to Deloitte’s seven floors.”
Deloitte’s office now offers more than 18 types of workspaces – a stark contrast to the standard three-workspace model of office, workstation and meeting room which they had persisted with for decades. Arney Fender Katsalidis’ design strategy focused on the creation of an agile workplace, which is a clear step away from the offices of traditional professional service firms and an innovative feature for the Canadian market. It allows Deloitte’s Montreal office to be an instrument of business, attracting talent, competing with contemporaries as well as enabling effective collaboration and relationship-building for staff and clients alike.
There are personal workstations, private rooms with closed doors, treadmill desks, sit-stand workstations, ‘work with a view’ stations and a dedicated quiet zone. Collaborative work environments include open/semi-open ad hoc meeting booths and tables and shared space hubs at key intersection points across the office. Across both individual and shared work areas, state-of-the-art technology, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, wall-mounted meeting room reservation tablets and smartboards facilitate productivity.
Arney Fender Katsalidis has also provided communal and social spaces, including a number of lounges, cafes, bistros, and outdoor green space, a wellness centre that includes fitness facilities with changing rooms and reflection space, enhancing the firm’s robust corporate offering.
Aesthetically, the design employs a fractal geometry to reflect the plurality of working styles and multi-dimensional character of the firm. This geometry is evident in folded planes of glass, wood, stone and metal. Additionally, tailored finishes are juxtaposed against raw finishes that further ensure that the complexity and range of the firm’s service offerings have informed the style of the workplace. Accordingly, we see finely crafted stainless steel, copper, silk and leather against distressed timber, raw steel, tin ceiling panels and chalkboard panels.
Five of the floors are united by a full-height glazed atrium. A feature staircase in vibrant Deloitte-green encourages spontaneous conversations and connections as staff move between floors and adds a sculptural element to the space that is dramatic and brand-themed. All floors have a common core that is linked by the staircase, including a café, external-facing breakout spaces, a specific floor colour code and a furniture theme. Importantly, the modular Knoll furniture systems used can be adjusted to individual needs and include L-shaped, bench and boomerang (120-degree) desk setups.
Matthew Kobylar, Director of Interiors and Workplace Strategy at Arney Fender Katsalidis explains, “Deloitte’s business units are varied in how they work and the space has to adapt to each business unit’s typical work style. Creating a blueprint that is flexible and adaptable was paramount to the strategy and design for this project.”
La tour Deloitte also features energy-efficient lighting and cooling systems that help reduce overhead costs and emissions. Bike storage encourages staff to ride to work instead of drive, and employees have the power to control the temperature of their workstations by turning vents on or off based on their preferences.
In addition to strategy and interior design work, Arney Fender Katsalidis contributed to several alterations of the base building design. Collaboration with the construction team and developer ensured that Deloitte benefited from maximum use of the building space and that architectural elements worked seamlessly with the innovative interior design. It was a joined up approach to architecture and interiors that ultimately has created a sophisticated and linked landscape for this workplace of the future.