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the vessel cameron stephens

client: cameron stephens
location: toronto, ontario
type: coorporate interior design

The Vessel is an office renovation for a prominent financial firm in the 1931 landmark bank formerly known as the Canada Permanent Building. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, this heritage building is considered one of the prime examples of Art Deco in Canada, blending classical architecture with modern aspirations.

Spanning the upper two floors, the office space faced a neglected 17th-floor central hall, surrounded by a collection of aged offices and meeting rooms in varying states of disrepair.

The design parti set to create the Main Hall as an object or vessel within the building. This endeavor involved the reconstruction of the north wall, isolating it from the rest of the office. Meticulous restoration of the 100-year-old millwork was conducted, alongside the removal and enlargement of old doors and the creation of new openings framed with bronze thresholds. The original crystal chandeliers and arched plaster ceiling underwent meticulous restoration, complete with handmade plaster medallions and sculpted wreaths. In stark contrast, modern steel workstations arranged in a central bench formation adorned the length of the Main Hall, accentuated by a striking abstract black and white carpet that juxtaposed against the classical essence of the original architecture.

On the 18th floor, a former service space was transformed into new offices and a vibrant social hub featuring a bar and cafe. A golf simulator and rooftop terrace were incorporated to provide captivating experiences conducive to closing business deals.

The ethos of the design embraced the restoration of neglected elements within the historic building, seamlessly integrating key modern components such as bronze and steel system furniture, glazing partitions, and contemporary task lighting. Our approach prioritized design restraint, acknowledging the significance of what we chose not to alter while seamlessly blending historical context with contemporary intervention, charting a course toward the future.

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