House of Bohn was commissioned to handle the interior design for the new Century Group office in 2017.
Century Group [hyperlink to centurygroup.ca] is a real estate development company that demonstrates ‘leading by design’ through exceptional architecture and design, energy-efficiency and innovation.
The 14,000 SQFT office, located at the Anvil Center in New Westminster, was only a concrete shell when House of Bohn took on the task of designing the office space. The new office had to reflect Century Group’s values, including collaboration, community and creativity. It also had to accommodate 80+ employees, a sizeable kitchen that could double as a meeting or event space and ample boardrooms. In addition, it was important to our client that the surrounding window space be made public rather than coveted desk space.
In response to this program, and to address the sizable nature of Century Group’s real estate development portfolio, House of Bohn & Gair Williamson Architects coined the concept “a city within a city”. This sparked the idea that people would travel within the space through street-like corridors, and offices or closed spaces would be reminiscent of buildings within a city, rather than simple office partitions.
Gathering spaces such as meeting rooms and the kitchen were designed to feel like public retail shops. Boutique inspired black steel French doors elude to shop windows, and street-inspired signage identifying the boardrooms further emphasizes the retail façade.
Century Group sees itself as a modest company that doesn’t flaunt image. To convey this message, House of Bohn carefully selected wood as a primary building material because of its inherent integrity, its sustainability factors, and because it is so widely referenced as a west coast building material.
Custom designed natural red-oak furniture was installed throughout the space, along with two-toned wood wall-panelling applied in a geometric pattern. This gives the space a mature sensibility with a playful personality. This playfulness was further expressed with pops of bright color infused in the custom furniture design, the kitchen and meeting room materials and the red old English-inspired phone booths.
Finally, as a nod to Century Group’s interest in farming and agriculture, House of Bohn introduced a farm-inspired fabric for custom meeting room and lobby furniture. If you look closely, one can spot carrots, pitchforks and pigs, among other images in the fabric.
Nowadays the office is up and running and we’re quite pleased with the turnout. During a recent visit, we noticed people using the spaces for what they were intended – colleagues were gathered in the boardrooms while others were deep in thought gazing out the window. The kitchen was buzzing with social interactions, personal workspaces were quiet and the hallways were friendly – collaboration, community and creativity were certainly apparent. Needless to say, we are very proud to have created a space that reflects Century Group’s values.