Photography by Ema Peter.
It’s not surprising that someone with a background in traditional private equity would value the concept of balance. But facts and figures weren’t top of mind for the owner of this downtown Vancouver office—it was work/life balance that mattered most. “He was all about a culture of working hard, getting it done during the day, and getting home to your family,” says Janay Koldingnes, partner and design director of Edit Studios. She set out to create a space conducive to both productivity and comfort.
The firm’s (very well-travelled) owner felt that the French countryside had the warm, inviting feel he was looking for. “We had to be careful we didn’t go too overboard with the theme,” explains Koldingnes, who made sure to complement that classic aesthetic with contemporary furnishings. “The strong concept that came out was French country flavour meets modern office vibe, like a 19th-century flat that you’d see in downtown Paris.”
The kitchen island is made of a black and white Carrara marble slab with little gold accents dancing throughout. “That was our way of adding the zhuzh, but not being too ostentatious about it,” says Koldingnes. Over the bar, plants add a little greenery to the luxury.
The Parisian feel comes through in warm herringbone oak floors and traditional moulding details, but there’s more to this old-world design than meets the eye. Intricate panelling conceals hidden doors leading to bathrooms and storage areas, a trick reminiscent of the secret passageways one might find in an old French chateau. Iconic Serge Mouille chandeliers were juxtaposed with modern Flos lighting, and cozy Fredericia Swoon chairs create a living room-like environment. “We naturally went in a feminine direction, with softer palettes, textures and materials that I don’t think are typical of a commercial office,” says Koldingnes.
The soft yet sophisticated design is as atypical as the company’s culture, where long hours are frowned upon and the 9 to 5 actually means 9 to 5. “The owner really wanted to influence his staff, and his future staff, to lead a balanced life,” says Koldingnes, “and this office is here to support that balance.”