Tradition meets modernism in the remodel of the third floor of the historic No. 1 firehall in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The gorgeous studio space for Bradbury Branding and Design makes the climb upstairs well worth the effort.
HOW magazine, November 2002
The 90-year old No. 1 Firehall
is Regina, Saskatchewan is three stories of Queen Anne regality, a cherished
landmark in this delightful Canadian town. But the only fires the occupants
of the top floor put out nowadays are deadline-related. Two years ago,
Bradbury Branding and Design Inc. (BBDI) took over the third floor of
this restored heritage property and embarked upon a renovation that granted
new life to the historic building.
The long, narrow space is just
over 1,600 sq.ft., open and airy, with clean lines in both the detailing
and furniture selection. A neutral palette provides the backdrop, with
conservative use of splashy accent colors to draw out certain areas. Fluorescent
lighting is upturned and mounted on top of the exposed mechanical ducts
(contemporary minimalism meets light industrialism, says Nenson),
with individual fixtures used to spotlight features, displays and vistas.
The walls are mounted with picture rails and adorned with awards the firm
has won, along with a collection of classic design posters. The space
is also blessed with abundant natural light, warming the space both literally
The space is not divided overtly
with cubicles or even walls. Rather, different areas of the studio are
suggested with understated effects. The floorings vinyl composite
tiles create a subtle directional feel and gently establish the boundaries
of different spaces. Free-form translucent vinyl mesh sails
provide light and airy alternative to conventional permanent partitions.
always work on the 9-5 schedule, so sometimes our hours are long,
says Bradbury. Its nice to have a place that is creative,
but also relaxing when you need it to be. The couches are there for resting
and taking a breather, and the kitchen and conference room are homey and
inviting dining areas when we need them to be. The philosophy is
certainly consistent with the history of the building. Firemen work
long hours and odd shifts, and a firehall needs to be a comfortable home
away from home for them, she adds.
The studios generous
open space is perhaps the most functional aspect of the interior design.
The layout provides more than ample room for the designers to spread out
and collaborate during design reviews. Typically, more than one
designer will work on any particular project throughout its life,
says Bradbury. Several years ago I decided to build a team so I
would have the benefit of continuous input from other creative minds.
The open space assists us in our process. The studio design works
for the employees as well. Theres room to move around and
breathe, says Associate Designer Karin Uusikorpi. And since
the windows are so high, the light is bright but not harsh.
All this adds up to a space that evokes the elusive wow factor. Everyone who comes in the door says Wow, this is great, says Bradbury. The fact that the building is a renovated heritage property also makes it a special place to work. Its almost like a structural representation of Bradbury Branding and Design philosophy. As designers, we want to be open to all inspiration, whether it comes from the past, present or future. We certainly find that all here in one place.