Grip Ltd.'s Creative Playground

Creative Workspace Tour

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Name: Rich Pryce-Jones, Grip Limited
Location: Toronto, Canada
Size: 27,000 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years

When an advertising agency celebrates its 10th anniversary by putting a group of 10 year old kids in charge of their accounts for the day (see video here), you know you’re dealing with a company that maintains a playful edge. That mischievous attitude is also apparent in the design of Grip Limited's offices, most notably with the installation of a giant playground slide that connects two floors, at the foot of which stands a firefighter pole. The foosball table parked outside one of 3 boardrooms and giant post-it note wall created by an enthusiastic graffiti-loving staff member are pretty good hints too.

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Spirited collaboration and inventive thinking are critical to the success of Grip Ltd.'s award-wining advertising campaigns, so their space offers a wide variety of meeting rooms and workstation styles to facilitate the shifting needs of their creative staff. Employees are encouraged to use any area that suits their mood for writing, recording, photographing, testing, problem-solving and inspiring fresh ideas. There are regular and standing desks, fuzzy-walled zen rooms, a hanging chair tucked away in a quiet corner, and even a nightclub V.I.P. style screening room. Whether they're meeting on circular couches that offer a view of the Ontario College of Art & Design's controversial structure, in a glass walled boardroom, or at the more intimate diner-style seating, there are more than enough options for staff and clients to work out strategies in style.

In 2011 Rich Pryce-Jones, one of 10 partners at the ad agency, worked closely with the original interior designer Johnson Chou to expand the offices up one more level. It wasn’t easy convincing his partners that cutting a giant hole in the new floor was essential to maintaining the integrity of the original design, but once the renovations were complete, the three story atrium proved to be an excellent architectural choice. The challenge in designing an expansive space that still feels open and connected no matter where you stand is automatically diminished when the view of writers, art directors and tech wizards working (or playing) their way through the day’s briefs is this good.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Industrial Chic.

Inspiration: Somewhere between the Coliseum, a children’s playground, a mechanics service bay, and a nightclub.

Favorite Element: The big orange slide.

Biggest Challenge: There were several. Probably the biggest hurdle was cutting the holes in the top floor to create the 3-storey atrium. That, and convincing my CFO that we should cut holes in the floor to create a 3-storey atrium.

What Friends Say: Can I try out the slide?

Biggest Embarrassment: When clients try out the slide.

Proudest DIY: Not really DIY, but Kardinal Offishal shot a music video here last year.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the slide, and the fire pole. And the 9000 square foot rejuvenation spa and Brazilian waxing emporium. Okay, I was kidding about that last part.

Best Advice: Hire a great designer that collaborates with you. Show them what you like, but give them a blank canvas and keep an open mind. We had a very tight budget, so we tried to use inexpensive materials in a creative way.

Dream Sources: Inspired by the work we do, we tried to make elements of our space represent some of our clients. The dining booths were inspired by our YUM! Client (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell). The silver boardroom (which we call the “Beer Fridge”) was a nod to Labatt, our beer client, and the large black circular reception desk represents an oversized tire, for our Honda/Acura client. At least that’s what we tell them all. Hopefully it makes them feel a little guilty if they decide to fire us.

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Resources of Note:

ENTRY

OFFICES

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Thanks, Rich Pryce-Jones & Grip Limited!

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(Image credits: Justice Darragh)

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