Edelman PR

Edelman PR, a globally recognized firm established in 54 locations, wanted its 1,850 m2 headquarters in Toronto, Canada, to be dynamic, inspirational and stylish. This was to be an energetic, collaborative space with a hip, cool culture where staff can interact and chill out. This would exude local character and integrate hospitality and workplace concepts. The design brief also required a transition from closed offices to a flexible open plan in order to increase collaboration and democracy. This would allow multiple uses such as town hall meetings, client reception, staff training, daily lunches/breaks and down time. Most important of all, the reception was to be unique and welcoming.

The designers came up with a unique brand statement. They combined a surprise loft-style look with boutique hotel reception offering a memorable first impression. A powerful sense of arrival is established by featuring iconic pieces such as ground-breaking PR books, a typewriter, rotary telephone, and a Brownie Hawkeye camera.

Private offices were transitioned to an effective open plan layout with distinct neighborhoods to encourage collaboration.

An unused gravel rooftop space was turned into a private patio in a windy corridor. Lime green “Camouflage” leaf fabric from Finland with bright blue seating and playful fabric from New Zealand provides an urban forest theme, vibrant color energy and human scale amongst surrounding towers.

Graphics were used to create energy, dynamism and scale while playing with perspective, defining functional neighborhoods along central axes within the open plan concept, and emphasizing local branding.  Landscape graphics and meeting rooms were named after Toronto subway stations to provide local character.

Also, a fireplace, bright purple carpet for impact, and classic furniture pieces by design luminaries such as Saarinen, Jacobsen and Warren Platter establish a sense of quality and brand identity.


Sleek contemporary workstations (each 2.4 m wide) seat staff in teams of four with low-glass dividers to maximize interaction.  A mix of open and closed breakout areas nearby allow for conference calls and meetings. Neighborhoods defined by color provide definition within the overall space. Staff often have working sessions in the Reception/ Cafe/ Patio areas to drive the creative spirit.

Spatial manipulation through varying the perspectives of wall murals provides dynamic scale and interaction of depth, perspective and color. Interaction of photomurals between transparent glass box meeting rooms and adjacent corridors create surprising third dimension and spatial inter-relationships throughout, expanding the visual size of meeting rooms.

Powerful graphic wall murals – Nelson French’s photographic landscapes of Toronto - were super-scaled and washed with bright colors. These murals and coordinated seating provide energy, create interest and define workstation neighborhoods.

The space is architecturally defined by the strong axial framework of the Reception/ Cafe/ Patio complex and Workspace Corridors. Combined with the transparent glass boxes, this provides clear definition, perspective and flow to the open plan while allowing for multi-purpose use.


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