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Yacht Style Anyone?

After 27 years in Yaletown in the same building on Hamilton street, BBA felt a change was in order. But where? What could compare with Yaletown? A chance meeting with Architect and Professor Cynthia Wilson of LWPAC presented an exciting opportunity. With the location a strong possibility the next design challenge was "What is the office going to look like?" Now that question inspired the entire BBA team. Give an award winning, multi-disciplinary interior design firm a blank canvas and the creative streams begins to flow. Yacht-style anyone?

But before BBA could sail away with the idea, the location had to be secured. The building was Monad at 3353 West 4th avenue, designed and built by award-winning LWPAC. Meeting with the other partner of LWPAC, Oliver Lang, brought about the idea of partnering in the office. The space was ideal – raw, open and concrete - 1970 sq ft, a long single room on the ground floor of Monad. But BBA currently occupied 2200 sq ft. How could we possibly share space with an architectural firm with the potential for 6+ Architects and all of our library material?

Lang challenged the BBA team by suggesting a very compact plan relying heavily on digital information and the use of every vertical square inch of space. We were up for this challenge. With Jennifer at the helm of coordination and Sharon as the navigator the office became a collaborative and efficient working space with a clean, modern aesthetic. We were lucky that Monad office space had 12' ceilings. By using the height for shelving, BBA was able to reduce their footprint to a more vertical print.

The entire BBA team collaborated with the office design – "Where am I sitting?", "Where are all our catalogues going?" "What about our fabrics?". For 6 months prior to the move we purged, reduced and donated our library and office furniture. Because web sites are more and more informative and up-to-date, we could get rid of most of our library. The result is a space designed for the most current materials and information... Much like a yacht..

Along with Lang, BBA developed a very strong gridded feature throughout the office. Hanging shelves along the west 75' wall determined the grid lines that continue around the entire perimeter of the space. These shelves are for project binders, model display and other design information. The Boardroom was located at the very back of the space and is separated by a see-through shelf divider creating a skeleton-like back wall. Although this wall functions ultimately as a privacy barrier for meetings it also has an innate practicality of form and function.

A few of the newest and most innovative features BBA has used are: writable/magnetic wallcovering, monitor and computer arms, wider collaborative desks, LED lighting throughout, movable reception desk with a magazine display and Dyson V-Blade hand dryers. Lang also brought an innovative feature to the space – free spanning 12' layout tables made from a engineered wood product. The 3" thick product is made by a company called Brisco and is manufactured as a structural product. To promote the open and collaborative nature of design work these layout tables have become multifunctional–building models, quick design reviews, supplier presentations, and lunch space. The Boardroom table is also a 10’ slab of Brisco

While the office is still an organizing work in progress both firms are settling in quite well. An idea space is still in the planning stages along with a movable screen to shield the working desks from the idea exchange up front.

Collaboration amongst everyone is easier and more enjoyable. With the wider, shared desks we can quickly swing our monitors around and ask our colleagues to critic a drawing detail or comment on a furniture piece. Eventually LWPAC will hold lectures and presentations in the front area by moving the reception desk out of the way and creating an informal gathering place to view projects and hear ideas.

We owe a huge thanks to all our hard working suppliers who helped us with outfitting our office:

· Pete Skinner (DJ Skinner & Associates) and Harold Martens (Oakmont Industries) – Columbo door levers and Modaporte glass sliding doors.
· Mike O’Callaghan and Rey Nacario (Sierra Sales) – Blanco kitchen sink and faucet.
· Brad Romo (Coast Wholesale Appliances) – Whirpool fridge, Blomberg dishwasher and Panasonic microwave.
· Ryan deBoer (American Standard) – Loft and Studio toilets, Moments lav faucet and wall hung sinks.
· Michelle Tse (Light Resource) – Liton track lighting and Leda Lit suspended LED fixtures.
· James Lindsay (Light Form) – Mooi feature pendant.
· Sean McDermott (Metro Wallcovering) – Wall Script mag/write wallcovering.
· Merrill MacFarlane (Caesarstone) – Quartz countertops.
· Darren Cooper (Kartners) – Berlin washroom accessories.
· Kevin Lin (Emerwood Home Products) – Custom washroom mirrors.
· Glen Sondergaard (Taymor Industires) – Washroom grab bars.
· Craftsman Millwork – Reception desk, storage millwork, working desks and hanging shelves.
· Helle Herman (Steven Tuey & Associates) – Roller blinds.
· Startile – Countertop manufacturing and installation.
· Seda Trigg (Andrew Sheret) – Dyson V-Blade hand dryers.
· Brita Unger and Karen Rice (HumanScale) – Monitor arms and computer holders.
· James McClellan (Island Glass) – Reception desk transaction top.
· Nicole McGown (Richelieu Hardware) – Cord management baskets and cabinet hardware.
· Brisco – Layout tables and Boardroom table.
· Bill Nederend – Carpenter, framer, kitchen installer.
· Shawn Mousavi – Electrician.
· Hedi Ladhari – Drywaller, painter, wallpaper hanger.
· Harris Coating Systems - Filing cabinets.
· Bari Design - Refinish furniture and Boardroom table cover.

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