This Toronto office has a bar and an indoor basketball court

In our Workspace series, BC presents interesting, intelligently designed and unique spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces and unconventional setups, like this beauty company that ran out of a rural farm and this carbon bike company. Located in a former auto body shop, we seek to showcase the most exclusive and beautiful spaces across all industries. This month we are profiling the combination, the Toronto office of creative collective Tadiem.

When the pandemic hit, creative collective Tadiem was in the middle of a 16-year lease on a 4,645-square-meter, two-level office space in Toronto’s CBC Building, a block north of Rogers Centre. The collective comprises three divisions:bensimon-byrnean advertising agency, A methoda design agency, and Narrativea communications and public relations agency, with a total of almost 200 team members.

By November 2020, the collective’s executives sat down to think about what their workspace should look like coming out of the pandemic. “We had to figure out a new way of working in person,” says Amin Todai, founder and creative director of OneMethod. After so many months in isolation, they wanted their space to foster collaboration and eliminate siled work.

Tadiem was inspired by their skills-sharing spin-off concept called The Combine, which they launched in 2018. It works like this: About 25 artists, photographers, DJs, and musicians are given access to Tadiem’s ​​workspace for meetings, as well as resources like video and audio. . recording studios, in exchange for 20 hours a year of creative work for the company or another Combine member. Tadiem wanted to channel the collaborative nature of The Combine for its redesign and borrowed the name from its new office, says Sarah Spence, Tadiem’s ​​chief executive.

“We wanted this to be a place where people wanted to come”

The collective redesigned the first floor so that all the staff, previously segmented by agency and department, could work together at hot desks or open tables. They added 10 meeting rooms and turned the office’s 1,500-square-foot mezzanine into a breakout space with small bistro tables and chairs, making it feel like a cafe. “Tons of people eat lunch there,” says Spence. Most of the second floor remained a “multi-use creative space” with meeting rooms, boardrooms, and video and audio recording rooms, where teams can host meetings and events for clients. The basketball court, a legacy of the former OneMethod office in Liberty Village, doubles as a space to accommodate town halls for up to 200 people.

Todai led the design efforts. “I was thinking about urban planning,” he says. “We wanted to create a city that had little ‘neighborhoods.’ The entire space is intentionally designed in a rough, crooked grid, so there are no direct sight lines through the space. You have to walk through the alleys to see everything.” The purpose of this, Todai says, was to create opportunities for workers to be “wowed and inspired” throughout the office. Tadiem intervened architects Lebel and Bouliane and interior designers Solid Creative Design for the renovation, which ran from July to December 2022.

Tadiem insisted that staff members would not be forced to return to the office, even for a minimal number of days. “We wanted this to be a place where people want get to,” says Spence. “We want staff to come in because they want to collaborate with their peers and connect.” Now between 40 and 130 workers walk into the office on any given day.

Here’s a look inside:

The entrance to an art gallery at the Combine displaying white T-shirts and artwork.
This main entrance, where the reception desk originally stood, is now a pop-up space for Tadiem staff and artist members to sell products from their side works or display their art. The space on the ground floor is open to the public. “During a Blue Jays game, thousands of people will walk by,” Todai says.
The Bevy cafe on the second floor of the Combine office, which is open to the public.
A small cafe on the second floor called The Bevy is also open to the public. It’s run by Combine member Phil Song, the director of a mural production and Korean skate culture agency, who previously ran a coffee shop in Toronto’s East End. “It’s an independently run business,” Todai says. “We have a little ledger there for our Combine members, so if they don’t have cash, they can write down how many coffees they bought and settle later.”
Large wooden desks in the middle of the workspace Combine next to fake plants
Combine desks and meeting rooms are on the main floor. This area, known as “The Grove”, is located in a part of the office with little natural light. To make up for that, the team added artificial plants and created a perforated ceiling out of metal panels. “It brings comfort into the mix,” says Todai.
A phone booth with Gucci wallpaper inside the Tandiem office
This phone booth on the main floor, next to The Grove, is clad in corrugated metal panels. When Todai was looking for materials for his own condo, she fell in love with this tiger-faced wallpaper from Gucci and brought it to the office. “I didn’t tell the partners we’re spending that kind of money,” Todai jokes. “But we did it in moderation.”
A worker coming out of a phone booth in a large open plan work space
There are 12 phone booths at The Combine where staff can take calls or have some quiet time. These two are made by Room, a New York City-based phone booth company. Todai added a shelf inside that lifts up to allow staff members to use their laptops while sitting or standing.
The workspace has its own bar called Luigi’s, named after a OneMethod writer, Dario Luigi Petruzzi. “Every Thursday and Friday, he would go behind the bar in our old office and become our de facto bartender,” says Tadoi. “We wanted to create a dive bar space, which is the opposite of what you think an agency of our scale would have in their office. It became a DIY project.” Tadoi painted the tile pattern on the floor himself with the help of team members. They collected vintage items, such as lighting, artwork, and signs, from antique shops in Waterloo and Niagara.
A basketball court inside Tadiem's ​​Toronto office
In the redesign, Todai reimagined the office basketball court as a place to host company-wide town halls and TEDx-style talks. OneMethod’s executive director of design, Jeff Rae, designed this mural, which was later painted by members of the Combine.

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