Pirate Toronto's Audio Escape

Workspace Tour

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Name: Pirate Toronto
Location: Toronto, Canada
Size: 10,000 square feet
Years Occupied: 23 years

Pirate Toronto is one of Canada’s leading audio post-production houses, located in the heart of the city’s Design District. Situated in the Ontario Design Centre lofts, Pirate’s converted warehouse-style space is home to 4 state-of-the-art HD tv/film/radio and digital media recording studios, a music licensing division, a voice-over casting studio, 8 directors, 4 music composer suites inhabited by award-winning jingle geniuses, commercial and record producers, advertising copywriters, top recording engineers… the list goes on (and the halls are lined with statues to prove it).

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Bucking conventional recording studio aesthetics, Pirate Toronto was designed to mirror the style and comfort of a Georgian Bay cottage. Blending modern technology with aged woods, leathers, plush sofas and nautical textiles creates an inviting space for world-class clients, advertising creatives, actors and musicians alike. In fact, it’s not unusual to spot the occasional celebrity behind the mic recording a product endorsement, narrating a show or stopping by on a break from set for a digital patch to studios in NYC or LA.

When the doors first opened at Pirate Toronto 23 years ago, the company occupied just a handful of offices. But as they grew in stature, so too did their need for space. As they've gradually taken over more and more real estate on the top floor of the mid-rise building, nearly every square inch has become the studio's territory. Each room is designed to fit like an asymmetrical puzzle piece in the Pirate matrix — rectangles and right angles begone! Here's a peek inside the creative world of Pirate Toronto.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Georgian Bay cottage meets industrial warehouse meets songwriter’s studio.

Inspiration: Creating a different kind of studio. Most recording studios are windowless rooms filled with flashing red lights, a black leather couch and an Xbox. Not ours — we’ve created a timeless, contemporary space with a view to the outside world. A space that we believe inspires creativity.

Favorite Element: The wide plank weathered cottage flooring.

Biggest Challenge: Having windows in a recording studio requires compensating acoustically for any outside noises trying to sneak in with the sunshine.

What Clients Say: “Wow, I feel like I’m at a cottage!”

Biggest Embarrassment: Not having a lake.

Proudest DIY: Aging/distressing the plank wood floor in Tom E’s office (this was done by hand by former General Manager Lino Michelli, of The Accidental Farmer).

Biggest Indulgence: The amazingly comfy furniture.

Best Advice:  For recording studios, putting the clients in front of the recording console as opposed to behind it (as is seen in the South & East studios) puts them in the heart of the action.

Dream Sources: Packrat, UpCountry, Metropolis Factory, Forever Interiors, Post & Beam Reclamation, the many repurposed industrial furniture stores in and around Toronto.

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Resources of Note:

LOBBY

  • Pirate sign - art direction by Hambly & Woolley (http://www.hamblywoolley.com/)
  • Paint – Escarpment by Benjamin Moore
  • Twig mirror & twig lamp – Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs (705-444-7832)
  • Leather chairs - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Mango Cart coffee table – UpCountry
  • Couch – originally UpCountry, re-upholstered by Princess Perfect
  • Reception desk - designer Maria Cumming Cumming Interior, cabinets & countertops by Lehman Wood Products Ltd.

KITCHEN

  • Paint – Escarpment by Benjamin Moore
  • Overhead Lights - designer Maria Cumming, Cumming Interior
  • Cupboards & countertops - designer Maria Cumming, Cumming Interior, cabinets & countertops by Lehman Wood Products Ltd.

STAFF LOUNGE 

  • Blue couch & chairs - Ikea
  • Cowboys - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Wood coffee table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Glass side table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Rug – Restoration Hardware

STEVE’S OFFICE

  • Black/steel lamps – Dark Tools
  • White desk – originally from Nitty Gritty, re-finished by Progressive Interiors 
  • Wood Shelves  - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs

ANGELA'S OFFICE

  • Ball chair – Fitness Source
  • Desk – EQ3
  • Side chair - Ikea

HALLS






 








































  • Paint – Escarpment by Benjamin Moore
  • Reel Men Fish sign - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Striped coat rack hooks - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Live Bait sign - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Side table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Cambridge side chairs - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • I Saw It On The Radio artwork - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Horseshoe artwork - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Mid-century Modern Chairs poster – Vitra Design Museum

STUDIO SOUTH

  • 2 red wood chairs - originally by Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs, re-upholstered by James Arlow Upholstery


  • Console chairs – Herman Miller


  • Wood side table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Green stained wood floors - by Progressive Interiors


  • Striped blinds - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Coffee table & side table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Rugs – Restoration Hardware


  • Blue couch - originally UpCountry, re-upholstered by James Arlow Upholstery


  • Couch chairs - originally UpCountry, re-upholstered by James Arlow Upholstery

STUDIO NORTH

  • Striped chairs - originally by Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs, re-upholstered by James Arlow Upholstery


  • Orance couch – originally UpCountry, re-upholstered by James Arlow Upholstery


  • Coffee table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Striped blinds - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Wooden ship & birds - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Branch standing lamp - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Side table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Console chairs - Herman Miller


  • Rug – Victorious Flooring    
TOM E'S OFFICE

  • Floor – DIY weathering & finishing by Lino Michelli (email: lino@theaccidentalfarmer.com)


  • Table & chairs – Stacaro


  • Leather club chair - Stacaro


  • Desk – Hideaway Antiques for base, custom glass top


  • Paintings – artist Ed Bartram *colors are the source palette for the entire color scheme of Pirate


  • Vintage Hammond Organ – gift


  • Crate side table – insert from Stacaro crate dresser, remove to fit stereo


  • Crate dresser - Stacaro


  • Motor - Hideaway Antiques


  • Globe - Hideaway Antiques


  • Lexon Radios – Moss NYC

VANYA'S OFFICE

  • Red couch – In Design


  • Guitars – various, personal collection


  • Black chairs - Ikea


  • Desk – custom made by Progressive Interiors


  • Desk chair - Staples


  • Wooden cabinet - Homesense


  • Tattoo session photos - frames by The Framing Factory, photography by Feather and Bone Photography (email: featherandbonephotography@gmail.com)


  • Wood floors – Progressive Interiors


TOM G'S OFFICE

  • Paint – Cloud White, Benjamin Moore


  • Wood wall – reclaimed wood from Urban Tree Salvage, installed by Progressive Interiors


  • Leather chairs - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs


  • Grey couch - Pavillion


  • Desk - originally from Nitty Gritty, re-finished by by Progressive Interiors 


  • Monster Plush Toys – uglydolls.com


  • Coffee table - Pavillion


  • Side lamp – Staples Business Depot

STUDIO EAST

  • Console chairs – Herman Miller
  • Garbage/recycling unit – The Bay
  • Striped chairs – originally by Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs, re-upholstered by James Arlow Upholstery
  • Red couch - originally UpCountry, re-upholstered by James Arlow Upholstery
  • Side table - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Side table lamp - Michelle Crowley, Trappings Designs
  • Rug – Michelle Crowley

CHRIS'S OFFICE

  • Leather couch - Ikea


  • Lockers – vintage U of T, purchased from a commercial production set


  • Coffee table – Nitty Gritty


  • Artwork (framed painting by Martin Tielli, canvasses Liz Ramos)


  • Kiss action figures – McFarlane Toys


  • Marshall Amp Beer Fridge – marshallfridge.com


  • Guitar mounts – DIY


  • Elvis clock – wedding gift 

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Thanks, Pirate Toronto!

(Images: Justice Darragh)

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