J5 expands Calgary studio with collaboration, flexibility, and wellness in mind

J5’s primary goal was to establish a welcoming and hospitality-inspired environment that embodies their human-centered values, culture and vision of “creating a kinder, more beautiful future.” They envisioned a space that effortlessly adjusts to accommodate various workflows and activities, promoting collaboration and innovation. Together with J5 Design, PCL Construction and Contemporary Office Interiors Ltd., we redefined the possibilities of workplace design, particularly in creating collaborative spaces that harmonize with dedicated individual work areas.

Team Spotlight

Karen Blackwood

Project Lead

Ashish Chopra

Project Designer

Project Square Footage: 6,700 sq ft
Start Date:
June 2022
June 2023

The Challenge

  • Achieve high-impact design within a conservative budget of $130 per sq. ft. This required innovative solutions that preserved design intent, while effectively bringing the project to life.
  • Enhance people's ability to look out the windows and enjoy the stunning views. This involved meticulous construction details to ensure that code compliance and accessibility were maintained.
  • Create a workplace with elements of hospitality in mind.

The Solution

To infuse a sense of hospitality into the workplace, we integrated zoned lighting with dimmable fixtures for individual adjustments based on the activities taking place. The front entry, with a central coffee machine and kitchen, is designed for a welcoming atmosphere that integrates clients into the office environment instead of creating a barrier.

To optimize the office's scenic views, we created a raised platform, strategically positioned furniture to face outward. Included is a ramp to fulfill barrier-free requirements, ensuring accessibility and aiding in the mobility of rolling whiteboards. Each step is illuminated, and fire-rated compartments are integrated. The design also prioritizes open views by minimizing obstructive storage or focused spaces.

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Key Features

Noteworthy design elements

Gallery Space

While the gallery space may appear as a blank canvas, J5 fully embraced the notion that spaces don't always need elaborate furnishings. The area is adaptable and flexible, and can be easily customized by wheeling in furniture as needed. Initially a fully fit-out workshop, J5 explored functionality before committing to built-in elements, a strategy that has proven successful for them.

Boardroom, Kitchen, and Lounge Space Proximity

Unique to this project, the close proximity between the boardroom and staff-focused spaces at J5 reflects their culture and human-centered values. This connection promotes energy and encourages conversations around the central island, fostering a warm and inviting ambiance.

Moveable Furniture

Movable planters and furniture offer flexibility, expanding the lounge area for larger gatherings or events. The lounge doubles as a breakout space for boardroom meetings, conveniently located near phone booths for quiet calls.

Celebrating Imperfections

To optimize the budget, we preserved as much of the existing infrastructure as possible. They celebrated the character of the exposed concrete floor and ceiling, which were painted white for a cohesive look. Existing furniture was repurposed strategically and complemented by new additions where necessary.


"We recently had the pleasure of collaborating with Holland Design on the construction of our new Calgary office. What sets Holland apart is their desire to deeply understand the aspirations and unmet needs of people which resulted in our space not only looking stunning but also functioning seamlessly for our employees and customers."

John Vardalos, CEO, J5 Design

Project Credits

Brokers: Adam Stewart (Savills)
TMP Consulting Engineers, Designcore Engineering Ltd.
PCL Construction
Aspen Properties
Joel Klassen