Inspiring Spaces: The Most Stylish Co-Working Office In Toronto
Take a style tip from the eclectic vintage look of this Toronto co-working space.
East Room opened in January 2015 as a joint effort between Derreck Martin — who owns popular Toronto shop 507 Antiques — and his brother, Sam Martin. “We wanted a co-op space that paid interest to the design and culture, where someone could run their day-to-day dealings comfortably and have the opportunity to collaborate or socialize with other members,” says Derreck.
The resulting space is cool and comfortable, mixing spare industrial touches, rich textures and antique finds from around the world with ease. Semi-private desks, a boardroom, a kitchen and lounge areas give members room to work and socialize, and the building is open 24 hours a day, encouraging everyone to treat it like home. Derreck and Sam plan to add more meeting rooms for small groups or start-ups and even a basement recording studio and cinema room, catering to musicians, filmmakers and other creative types. “It’s always buzzing, so we’re expanding,” says Derreck. “Once we fill one space, we move on to the next.”
Take a look inside this eclectic Toronto co-working space and visit their website to learn about becoming a member.
The century building was once a jam product factory (“the sort they put in jelly donuts,” explains Derreck) and a recording studio known as the Jam Factory. Derreck and Sam took the space back to its industrial bones and added layers of patina with pieces from 507 Antiques, taking inspiration from open-plan New York lofts and effortlessly cool L.A. shops like Isabel Marant, The Row and antique store Obsolete.
Custom restaurant-style leather banquettes have a classic, lived-in feel and provide space for working, eating and socializing. Antique Austrian hunting trophies are a rustic contrast to the urban polished concrete floors, and even though the bingo board doesn’t work, it’s still a reminder to balance work and play. Oversized metal and glass doors lead to a patio space that opened this summer.
Derreck brought in iconic Toledo stools to complement the classic marble counters and subway tile backsplash. He found the pendant lights in a fire station in Quebec that was built in the 1950s. The neon logo sign was made especially for the East Room and adds a little flash to the otherwise pared-down space.
The marble on the kitchen countertops is echoed by the surface of antique marble and cast-iron bistro tables from Italy. ’60s-era lamps beside the banquettes have space-age appeal, and the mixed-and-matched chairs serve as extra seating with mid-century flair. Vintage photographs of cityscapes reflect the downtown Toronto setting.
Instead of concrete and marble, the conference room uses the softer texture of wood. “We wanted it to have the feel of an old, darkish library,” says Derreck. The centerpiece is a live-edge table made out of a tree from the East Room property that was toppled by an ice storm. Frosted glass shades on the contemporary Cloud chandelier from N.Y.’s Apparatus Studio diffuse light and have a round, friendly look.
Derreck and Sam refinished the building’s original wood floors and beams and left them in place. “We had to strip about 100 years of paint off [the beams],” says Derreck. The glass and steel partitions and boardroom walls were custom made in the 507 Antiques shop and give members some privacy to work without making the space feel closed off.
Architect’s lamps at each desk provide both task lighting and a hit of industrial style. To round out the workstations, Derreck snapped up a batch of original Eames chairs by Herman Miller from an office building that closed. “They were a real steal,” he says.
A sisal rug and kilim-covered coffee table (which doubles as an ottoman) add natural texture and graphic pattern against the no-nonsense sleekness of black leather lounge chairs and a sofa.