Search

Reflect Architecture Makes Modern Deco Detailing That Delights

01.31.24 | By
Reflect Architecture Makes Modern Deco Detailing That Delights

Toronto-based Reflect Architecture has a way with words – visually speaking – which pairs well with the asset management firm, NewGen, who is out to redefine the language of the office typology in their new downtown space. While returning to work in-person is a point of contention for some, the three friends and financiers behind the business argue it’s a matter of semantics.

A moody hallway that terminates in an arched window.

Entry corridor

A reception area with marble waterfall desk and computer.

Reception

Located in the near century-old Commerce Court North Tower, the site provides context clues that suggest an architectural space with a decorated résumé, but it does little to foreshadow the subversive experience upon reaching NewGen’s office. Employees and clients alike circulate through the historic halls and up 30 floors in an homage to decades of progress that allow for newer institutions, like theirs, to take up residence high above the stone expanses, vaulted volumes, and gold-coffered ceilings below.

A reception area with marble waterfall desk, task chair, and computer.

Reception

Lounge seating.

Waiting area

Occupying an entire 3,000-square-foot space, this “clubhouse style” solution disperses a series of spatial vignettes around the U-shaped plan. A moody corridor – suggesting a speakeasy passageway – is finished with rough, textured concrete panels, herringbone patterned hardwood floors, and backlit vibrant blue-green arches. It delivers guests from a dense core into the bright, airy reception and waiting area. Light millwork and additional views framed by the arched metal panels echo the Art Deco stylings inherent to the building. The main programming includes a wing of individual office, kitchen, and conference spaces flanking the left, and collaborative office, lounge, and gym spaces flanking the right.

A rectilinear hallway with bar lights.

Conference

And office space with conference table and chairs.

Conference

The suspended arched installations – marrying form and function to integrate light, hide unsightly services, and define distinct functions – are exemplary of Reflect Architecture’s command of surface and ability to contemporize classic forms while employing devices like technology, materiality, and color.

A view looking into a kitchen from an office space.

Conference

Lunch room seating.

Kitchen and lounge

NewGen’s new digs are steeped in local vernacular yet self-aware, cognizant of the ways in which modern, professional decorum continues to evolve and the implications on traditional office requirements. “They’re there day and night. They hang out. They will leave, but then they often go back to do work. [The office] is their ‘all-in’ place, and a place where they need to feel really comfortable, sometimes casual, and always social,” principal architect Trevor Wallace says. His visual narrative masterfully splices a variety of inky hues and textural stories together from both the existing structure and aspirational spaces. “We looked at the New York Athletic Clubs, the St. Andrew’s Golf Club in Scotland, and the Aman Le Mélézin in Courchevel, to name several.”

Kitchenette are with cabinets and seating.

Kitchen and lounge

A rectilinear hallway with bar lights.

Corridor

Wallace manages to make space for a new generation of financial minds with a progressive perspective of their own, expressed in an amalgam of finishes that echo intimate settings where the most critical business relationships are often formed. Its continued success rides the wave that results from broader tectonic shifts in workplace perceptions that address the role of the physical space in people’s lives.

Lounge seating.

Lounge

An arched window.

Workstation

Photography by Joel Esposito.

With professional degrees in architecture and journalism, Joseph has a desire to make living beautifully accessible. His work seeks to enrich the lives of others with visual communication and storytelling through design. A regular contributor to titles under the SANDOW Design Group, including Luxe and Metropolis, Joseph serves the Design Milk team as their Managing Editor. When not practicing, he teaches visual communication, theory, and design. The New York-based writer has also contributed to exhibitions hosted by the AIA New York’s Center for Architecture and Architectural Digest, and recently published essays and collage illustrations with Proseterity, a literary publication.