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Introducing Western Living’s 2023 Designers of the Year Award Winners
Canadian entrepreneur and style icon Joe Mimran shares his tricks for designing an office that inspires creativity.
Canadian designer Joe Mimran is well known for his fashion pursuits—the launch of Alfred Sung, Club Monaco and Joe Fresh being just a few of them—but it turns out the Toronto-raised style icon knows a thing or two about interiors, too. Specifically, workspaces, if his new partnership with office-supply destination Staples Canada is any indication.
“I think that aesthetics and environment are really important,” he says. “I am more efficient when I feel good about my surroundings.”
Dubbed Joe’s Perfect Picks, the collab involves Mimran curating a stylish selection of office and organization products for Staples, which will be available both in stores and online into the fall. Updated regularly, the lineup includes goods like sleek table lamps, waterproof speakers and Moleskine backpacks—each designed to aid today’s freelancers and entrepreneurs, wherever they may be working from. (Mimran, a self-described “travel warrior,” considers his office to be “wherever I put my bag down.”)
The designer has even styled 10 “how to get the look” vignettes for Staples—according to themes like Scandi-cool and hi-tech modern—in case you’re looking for some inspo for an office revamp. So, naturally, we couldn’t help but to ask Mimran for his top tips for creating a workspace that’s as inspiring as it is productivity-inducing.
For Mimran, designing an office space that works as hard asyou do comes from an understanding of your own style. “I think you have to knowwhat appeals to you from an aesthetic standpoint,” he says. “Are you aminimalist? Do you like more novelty?”
Once you know what sort of look you’re after, you can begininvesting in products that fall under this theme. If you’re drawn to colour,introduce pops of red, teal and yellow through objects like filing cabinets andtape dispensers, for example, or if want more of an executive feel, consider objectslike a slick metal desk or leatherette chair.
The goal is to create a space you wouldn’t mind spending time in. Banishing clutter, Mimran says, should also be top of mind. “You don’t want a lot of clutter because you’re trying to think about what you’re focused on, which is your work,” he notes.
Natural light is king when it comes to tackling a lengthy to-do list. (Studies have shown that an increased exposure to daylight during your 9-to-5 can improve productivity.) But faking it when you need to—whether that be through recessed lighting, a sculptural fixture or combination of table and floor lamps—is also key. “When a space has bad lighting, I don’t want to work in it,” says Mimran.
For Mimran, one of the most important objects in a workspaceis the chair—and the more comfortable and ergonomic it is for you, the better. Thiscan mean different things for different people, so don’t be afraid to test outvarious seats before you find one that’s a fit for you.
A standing desk, says the designer, is also something that should be considered. “A sit/stand chair is something that people should look at, especially if they find that they’re sitting all day long.”
Mimran is a big proponent of staying hydrated during yourworking hours. Water improves your brain’s function and focus, after all, so hesuggests keeping a water bottle, decanter or other H2O dispenser nearby. “Whatyou consume and how you’re consuming it is super important,” he says.
Mimran says he always has a water bottle on hand, though he’s a fan of cold-pressed juice, too. “If you want to stay even-keeled all day and if you want to keep your energy at an amazing level all day long, freshly made juice is the answer,” he says.
The presence of plants in office spaces has been shown to reduce stress and boost both creativity and productivity—could it be all that fresh oxygen?—so, if you can, consider entering plant parenthood.
“I think this is something that everyone should think about,”says Mimran, “whether you’re going for a succulent or if you’ve got the budgetfor fresh flowers and fresh plants.”
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