The landscape of corporate Calgary is changing. Sure, renovations are great and new skyscrapers are a welcome addition to the skyline (and job market for that matter), but that’s surface level change. City’s attempting to undergo the kind of transformative change that revives and renews urban life understand that this takes time, energy, and honesty. The Edison is answering this call for inner business transformation by creating “uncommon areas” for collaborative work environments. Top talent is attracted by company culture and The Edison is breeding it by shelving traditional office space and leaving it in the history section. Aspen Properties announced the official renovation grand re-opening of The Edison on March 22, 2018, after over a year of construction and an interior over haul led by Gibbs Gage Architects on the main, 2nd and 3rd floors with MAKE Design Lab Inc. designing interior finishes through the rest of the building. The Edison has taken shared work spaces a step further by inserting collaborative elements into each floor and shared spaces of the building. Additionally, it’s the first dog friendly office building in downtown Calgary, provides local brews on tap for tenant exclusive events in common areas, and has a basketball area. In short, the hard task of corporate introspection, in this case, seems to have paid off.
Arriving at The Edison for their grand opening we were treated to two larger-than-life, landmark art installations called ‘Emergent’, which define the plaza area they now call home. A revolving door slips guests into a warm lobby with soaring ceilings, and a den-like seating area is equipped with Instagram-worthy furniture and a cozy fire place. Shelves are decorated with travel books and comics, and games like Scrabble and Settlers of Catan (inner geeks rejoice) are a welcomed nod to the collaborative elements being worked into the décor’s functionality. Continuing the hunt for synergetic elements leads you to the third floor, which provides no small amount of inspiration. The floor is equipped with a golf simulator, a full gym, a rec area with a pool and foosball table, and occasionally open beer taps whose main purpose is to build community and – you guessed it – collaboration. The dog friendly building houses an outdoor dog park, a dog mud room (yup) and partnered with dog walking services. There are also plans for a doggy daycare across the street. ‘Donut’, the resident puppy was the undeniable star of the show at the grand opening and confirmed everyone’s suspicion that having a dog at work makes everything better. There is even a bike share program (paging Mike Morrison) soon to be operated with a custom app which lets tenants book bikes at their leisure, which will be available at all of Aspen Properties’s locations in Calgary and Edmonton. This ability to go biking with colleagues, play a game of Settlers, or hang out with your favourite canine pal seems to be an intentional and impressive celebration of work-life-balance.
When chatting with building management they took care to stress that The Edison is not making any ground-breaking changes that haven’t been done elsewhere in the world; rather, what’s exciting is that the collaborative elements built into the building are new for Calgary, and they’re thrilled to be bringing it to YYC.
We caught up with R. Scott Hutcheson, Executive Chairman of The Board, Aspen Properties, to discuss this adaptable building.
Do you have a favourite floor?
“The third floor because of all the amenities available for tenants, a full gym, golf simulator, open beer taps to promote active and organic collaboration – and it has the dog park!”
Do you believe a collaborative space breeds a culture of collaboration or just allows for it?
“Breeds it. I think that when we look at the way offices were laid out over the past 100 years to present day we’ve progressively developed more creative and collaborative space. Years ago, everybody was in an office with a set structure and a locked door. Then glass was added for more transparency, and cubes were brought in. In every step forward, we, as a generation, attempt to be more creative, and it creates more fun, and more energy.”
What affect, if any, do you think this building will have on the cooperate landscape of Calgary?
“I think what’s happened in the last three or four months is that this building has become a vibe. There are a lot of requests to go through the building on a weekly basis and there is a lot of excitement. Architects in the city are saying that this building is ahead of the curve and are asking to see it, so they can learn from it in their own projects. We share our knowledge with everybody.
We haven’t done anything here that is enormously innovative, but we have done a lot of things right and put them all together in one little spot. It changes everything.”
What legacy would you want The Edison to have?
“We hope it’s full and creates an environment that’s good for our community.”
Boom loves innovation and creativity, and The Edison is chalk-full of both. To learn more about this space (or see it for yourself) click here!