Being an industry that crosses over a broad spectrum of professions in the process of delivering its product, urban development is a business that requires the efforts of multidisciplinary teams working towards a shared goal. In the field of design specifically, a multi-unit residential development will often be delivered by as many as three different firms: an architect, an interior designer, and a landscape architect, all working together to deliver one building. 

For projects at the largest scale, this can be advantageous, breaking up the workload and assigning design work to specialists in their respective niches; but in some instances, the visions of different designers can fail to align, resulting in projects that lack cohesion. This was a trend that architect Rod Rowbotham was becoming aware of when he founded his practice, onespace. Built upon the foundational belief that a unified design team can deliver building solutions with a positive impact, onespace is a unique multi-facetted firm that brings architects and interior designers together under one roof. 

Exterior design by onespace for West Frasier Holdings' Hyatt Airport Corporate Centre development in Mississauga, image courtesy of onespace

Interior design by onespace for Hyatt Airport Corporate Centre in Mississauga, image courtesy of onespace

“For most projects, architects and interior designers are retained as two separate firms often focused on achieving their own opposing visions,” Rowbotham told UrbanToronto in an email exchange. “We viewed this as a costly process for the client and a weakness for the visual experience of the project and as a response, we assembled a unified team of architects and interior designers energized by working together in ‘one space’.” 

As a member of both the Ontario and Alberta Association of Architects, as well as the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Rowbotham has been able to procure projects for his firm across the country, dealing with a wide range of programming needs including residential, commercial, and industrial uses. Commenting on how his team collaborates to deliver successful designs for the diverse needs of their clients, “we accept and welcome the differences between our disciplines,” Rowbotham explained, “and the results speak for themselves.”

Complete design of Wellings Calgary Inc's residential development, Wellings of Calgary, currently under construction, image courtesy of onespace

Interior design by onespace for Wellings of Calgary, image courtesy of onespace

Among their slate of active projects in Toronto, the 10-storey residential development Danny Danforth Condominium from GALA Developments, currently under construction on Danforth Avenue between Main Street and Woodbine Avenue, is exemplary of the firm’s unified design approach. The massing of the building’s exterior, boasting a modular appearance created through the stacking of different orthogonal volumes, is expressed further by the mix of different materials and textures. With such a prominent motif on the building’s exterior, onespace recognized the importance of expressing that same quality on the inside in a way that complements the spaces. 

Looking south at the exterior design of the 10-storey Danny Danforth development, image courtesy of onespace

The execution of this goal is perhaps displayed best in the design of the building’s lounge amenity space. Formally, the room’s conventional layout is modified with the addition of blocky volumes, similar to the massing of the building’s exterior, that add visual interest while serving functional roles as well. The booth, for example, is made private by the added wall on the right, while the addition of the lowered ceiling above creates a theme that makes that section of the room distinct. Meanwhile, from a materials standpoint, the room enjoys a melange of finishes like marble to wood grain, that work to accent the space while remaining aligned with the overarching character.

Looking at design motifs seen in the lounge amenity at Danny Danforth, image courtesy of onespace

Seeing the processes of architecture and interior design as an intimately connected project, onespace has been able to develop an extensive portfolio across the country, and for their clients, they have succeeded in providing designs that are effective as well as thematically cohesive. “Our projects each demonstrate a creative, singularly focused, and harmonized outcome,” said Rowbotham. “We know we have done our job when we have created a design where the exterior and interior support and reflect one another." 

* * *

UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

Related Companies:  McIntosh Perry, Onespace Unlimited, Weston Consulting