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Designing Serendipity: Cardigan by IVYSTUDIO

Designing Serendipity: Cardigan by IVYSTUDIO


Ioanna Sotiriou

Head of Marketing & Design


June 26, 2023



At Butlr, it's no secret that we greatly appreciate architectural projects that enhance the concept of dynamic coworking spaces. That's why we were thrilled to discover IVYSTUDIO and their impressive work on Cardigan, a Canadian Marketing Agency.

The backstory of the building is just as captivating as the project itself. As a rapidly expanding company, their team was searching for a new location to accommodate their 25 employees. They stumbled upon a building originally constructed as a bank in 1907, which had undergone various transformations over the years and most recently served as a religious establishment. With a 1250 square-foot open space on the ground floor, an equally-sized basement below, and an independent residential condominium above, the building held immense potential.

One of the major challenges encountered while working with the building involved the contrasting ceiling heights between each floor. While the ground floor boasted an ample clearance of 16.5 feet, the basement measured only 7 feet in height and lacked windows. This necessitated careful spatial planning right from the project's inception. To maximize natural light, all workstations were situated on the ground floor, while the basement housed the bathrooms, kitchen, lounge, and storage facilities.

Photo by Alex Lasage, Source: IVYSTUDIO


Although the ground floor provided a spacious and open layout, its footprint proved insufficient to accommodate 25 desks along with meeting rooms. Fortunately, the lofty ceiling offered a solution by allowing the addition of a mezzanine in a portion of the space.

IVYSTUDIO skillfully utilized vertical distance as a means to delineate vibrant and focused spaces without relying on heavy separating elements. By strategically incorporating different levels within the building, they created a "soft" separation that maintained a sense of coherence and visual unity throughout the entire space. This approach allowed for a seamless transition between the energetic and lively areas, such as the open workstations on the ground floor, and the more tranquil and concentration-oriented zones, like the enclosed meeting and call rooms situated above the mezzanine. The clever use of vertical distance effectively achieved a harmonious balance, ensuring that each space felt distinct yet connected, contributing to an overall cohesive experience.

Photo by Alex Lasage, Source: IVYSTUDIO


On the other hand, the enclosed area beneath the mezzanine serves as an optimal location for call rooms, strategically positioned for easy accessibility from the open workspace. However, a crucial aspect that IVYSTUDIO had to address was ensuring that these spaces, equally vital for fostering tranquility and focused discussions, would maintain a sense of privacy despite being situated on the same level as the vibrant collaboration zone.

To achieve this, the architects employed a thoughtful approach by carefully selecting materials. They cleverly utilized perforated white metal panels, which served multiple purposes in creating a subtle yet effective distinction between these two areas. The perforations in the panels not only allowed for the passage of natural light but also added a touch of visual intrigue, casting intriguing patterns and diffusing illumination. This delicate balance between transparency and privacy was key to maintaining a cohesive and unified aesthetic throughout the space.

Photo by Alex Lasage, Source: IVYSTUDIO


The result was a space where employees could easily transition between collaborative discussions and private conversations, all while preserving a cohesive and unified ambiance. But why is this important?

By incorporating a layered approach to the layout, where different areas exhibit varying levels of information density, the architects have encouraged movement and interaction among employees. In a workspace that promotes collaboration, it is essential to provide visual access to spaces with contrasting levels of information density. This means offering a variety of settings, from open and vibrant areas with high information density, where team members can engage in lively discussions and brainstorming sessions, to more secluded spaces with lower information density, designed for focused work and confidential conversations.

The presence of visually accessible spaces of high and low information densities ignites a natural urge for movement and exploration within the workspace. Employees are encouraged to transition between these different zones as their tasks and collaboration needs evolve throughout the day. This fluidity in spatial usage not only promotes dynamic interactions and idea-sharing but also allows individuals to find the ideal setting for their specific work requirements at any given moment.

And they have the coolest kitchen we've ever seen. Just saying.

To explore more remarkable projects by IVYSTUDIO, please click here.


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