Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) new Canadian headquarters spans three floors of the new 49-story 81 Bay Street office tower at CIBC Square in the South Core neighborhood of Toronto.
The BCG-HOK project team created a memorable new work environment that conveys the firm’s vision, culture, brand and lasting impact on the country.
BCG’s hybrid work approach allows staff to be in the office, on-site with clients or at home. Most people, however, work in the office a few times a week. The team recognized the opportunity to reimagine work and the role of the post-COVID office. This meant that every aspect of the space—the layout, amenities, design, furnishings and technology—needed to promote socialization and face-to-face communication. It also had to ensure that employees working in-person or remotely could easily collaborate.
This new work environment “earns the commute” of BCG’s people, offering compelling reasons for them to return to the office.
During the construction of the 81 Bay Street building, the design team envisioned a central atrium approximately 80 feet long by 20 feet wide.
The team collaborated with the developer, Hines, to reengineer the floor plate to carve out this iconic space in the middle of the first two floors.
The daylight-filled atrium links the reception and café spaces. Visitors get the immediate impression that this is a special company doing important work.
The 100,000-sq.-ft. space includes a variety of work settings that support all the ways BCG’s people like to work.
Employees can move between open offices, case team rooms, convertible private offices, soundproof phone booths, a quiet library, a large café and individual spaces—wherever they feel most comfortable and productive.
Inspired by the multicultural mosaic that is the city of Toronto, there are numerous opportunities for serendipitous encounters and creative collisions. Features and unexpected “Easter eggs” unique to each floor encourage people to explore.
A mix of different materials creates moments of delight. Leathers, natural lines and wools, rich Canadian wood, stone and brick create a hospitality-infused mood.
“BCG helped us learn, grow and push the boundaries of transformational workplace design. They were a fantastic client. As an organization, BCG’s innovation and growth are phenomenal. It’s inspiring.” — Caitlin Turner, Director of Interiors in Canada
A clear, intuitive wayfinding system uses simple iconography that complements the interiors.
Convertible Office Suites
One size doesn’t fit all among the relatively few private office suites (above). Suites with glass partitions allows daylight to reach into the offices. These suites feature several layouts and a versatile “kit of parts” lets people choose the furniture configuration that suits their work.
All suites function as both offices and small huddle rooms. They have acoustic wall treatments, sit-stand desks, whiteboard walls and casework for personal storage.
Case Team Rooms
BCG’s teams use case team rooms (above) to brainstorm, work through problems and create solutions. Project teams can reserve the case team rooms for a day, a week or a month—however long it takes to develop the best solutions for their clients. This is where “the magic happens.”
The design ensures that these dedicated self-contained case team rooms offer a wide variety of work settings: from heads-down nooks to spaces for brainstorming and small meeting areas.
Health and Sustainability
The design prioritizes health and well-being and reflects BCG’s commitment to addressing climate change, critical sustainability challenges and DEI in its client work and operations.
Wellness rooms include shower facilities with towel service, a mother’s room, therapy rooms including Vitamin D light therapy and sound therapy rooms. All wellness rooms have green walls, plants and Vitamin D lamps. Graphics and natural materials like rich woods and stone add biophilic design elements.
Spaces along windows provide expansive lake and city views, connecting employees with nature.
The lighting design minimizes disruptions to people’s circadian systems while increasing productivity. Placing open spaces and work environments along the perimeter allows daylight to filter through the space for all to enjoy.
The wide variety of meeting rooms for BCG’s people are purpose-driven, adaptable and tech-enabled.
The flexible boardroom (below) has operable walls that can retract. Additional tables support double-room capacity. A catering kitchen backs into the room, allowing for food service without disrupting the meeting flow. Large screens flank either side of the room and staff can access drop-down TVs by pressing a button.
The Story of BCG
An understated digital timeline on a corridor wall (below) tells the story of BCG in Canada and all over the world.
Signature walls also celebrates long-tenured staff. A mosaic of BCG’s founders, created with employee faces, is found in a staff collaboration space.