For the new Canadian headquarters of Travelzoo, a global internet media company specializing in travel and entertainment, Dubbeldam Architecture + Design was tasked with creating an interior that would simultaneously balance the impression required of an established international company with the youthful spirit of its enterprise. The project is the unusual merging of a loft-style interior within the context of a ‘Class A’ office building. The new office location on the 23rd floor of a tower above the landmark Toronto Eaton Centre offers panoramic views of the city skyline, City Hall, Lake Ontario and the CN Tower. Within the raw space of exposed concrete floors and a textured ceiling, the design team developed programmatic spaces as distinct volumes, optimizing circulation and views of the city, while also maximizing natural light. The sleek interiors were inspired by images of travel to exciting destinations, while also showcasing the dramatic cityscape of downtown Toronto.
The design aesthetic of the conference and lunch-room volumes alludes to modes and nodes of high-speed transport such as train stations and airports; the huddle rooms and lounge areas suggest comfortable destinations such as cabins, parks and beaches. Travelzoo’s brand colours, red for action and blue for tranquility, are combined with touches of bold contrasting colours to enliven the space.
The project’s tight budget necessitated a strategic approach to materials and design. The cabin volume uses a Japanese automotive product printed to look like wood, and the conference rooms are painted in metallic silver that creates the gleam of real metal, like a train. The clients’ desire for an exposed ceiling presented a challenge: the building’s construction was not conducive to that kind of detail, but an elegant solution was found in a metal mesh ceiling that makes the space feel more open while masking the rough texture above.
Graphic interactive elements also incorporate travel-culture motifs. To reinforce company culture Travelzoo’s employees are encouraged to experience for themselves the travel deals they offer customers; an arrivals/departures board in the kitchen helps keep track of their globe-trotting, and in the reception area an interactive world map offers another playful and colourful record. Designed as a wood peg board and constructed by local Atelier Kozak, the signature wall map has coloured wood pegs for employees to plug into the far-flung places they have been.