Slack Toronto Office

Using colourful ‘threads of communication’, the design of Slack’s office pays tribute to the messaging app and the building’s heritage as a knitting factory.

Slack, the world’s fastest growing tech company in history, is a San Francisco based start-up offering a revolutionary team communication app for business. After just a handful of years, the company had already opened offices around the globe including Vancouver, New York, Melbourne, London, Paris and Dublin. Each office occupies a former industrial building with interiors that honour the property’s legacy, renew its productivity, and reflect Slack’s values of empathy, solidarity, and craftsmanship.

For their Toronto location Slack sought to create an imaginative space that reflected their company culture and its relationship with craft and technology. Set in a former knitting and textile factory in the heart of downtown Toronto, three storeys within the interior of this mid-rise brick and beam building were redesigned to meet all the needs of a twenty-first century tech company, inspired both by the building’s heritage and the company’s work culture.

The design drew from a “threads of communication” concept using linear geometries throughout the space, such as continuous angular light fixtures and coloured networking cables running through the length of the office on the ceiling and walls. These enliven the space in an homage to the lines of yarn that were used in the mechanized knitting process, while also referencing the communication service of the messaging application itself. In the reception area, diagonal strips of industrial felt by Felt Studio run along the walls and ceiling, creating a warm and inviting environment as soon as you step into the office. Angular light fixtures appear to thread through the ceiling, knitting workspaces and meeting rooms together.

An open concept workspace to accommodate upwards of 142 employees was the primary requirement of the design brief. In order to avoid a monotonous field of cubicles and provide a democracy of light to all employees, workstations were placed around the perimeter of the floorplates in close proximity to bordering windows. A central hub was designed to accommodate a variety of communal spaces, each with its own contrasting colour to offset the neutral palette of the surrounding desks. In addition to traditional workstations, distinct areas were provided for both private concentration and collaborative exchange, from private phone booths, break-out rooms for small groups, and kitchenettes on each floor, to informal entertainment lounges, and a spacious café for all-hands meetings.

A feature characteristic of the interior is the bold, contrasting pops of colour that demarcate distinct areas. Each zone corresponds to a single colour that comprises Slack’s branding, reinforcing company identity while also providing visual interest and relief to the otherwise yellow tones of the brick and wood interiors. Meeting rooms are uniform yet each unique, owing to their bold and varied colour scheme. Throughout, vibrantly coloured acoustic wall paneling matches textured carpeting and distinctive furniture pieces. Through these means, the material nature of the design pays tribute Slack’s company values of craftsmanship and playfulness.

  • Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards
    Honouree, Workplace Design
  • Grands Prix du Design Awards
    Gold Award, Offices
  • IES Illumination Awards
    Toronto Section Winner
  • American Architecture Prize
    Honourable Mention
  • Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Awards
    Best of Year Honoree

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