Article is keeping their rapidly growing team connected and inspired with unconventional office design.
The east side of Vancouver is home to a famously creative neighbourhood known for diversity, community, history, artistic expression—and many brew halls and coffee shops. The blending of art and entrepreneurship makes this neighbourhood the perfect home for Article.
Maureen Welton, VP of Design at Article, was employee number five when she joined four courageous engineers on their journey to build the first online-only furniture company. By cutting out the middleman, Article supplies beautiful, modern furniture at prices people can actually afford. “We offer a great value for the product we’re selling,” explains Welton. On their quest to radically change the way that people shop for furniture, their team has grown steadily, which spells a need for top-tier talent and dynamic office space that will grow with them.
When Welton first saw 1010 Raymur Ave, she remarked how it was in “rip down mode.” But Welton saw the potential for new life—windows and skylights allowed ample natural light to pour in, illuminating exposed wood and concrete floors. The story and character of the building appealed to Welton’s desire to find a space to foster creativity and “casual encounters.” She explains that “we love the historic quality of the building and the story behind it. When I look up at the original posts, the ceilings and fir from the 1800s, we feel really lucky to be in a space like this. We appreciate that Low Tide didn’t try to cover up the authenticity of the building.”
On the building’s main floor, curated vignettes featuring Article’s sought-after furniture sets the tone as soon as you walk in the building. While the business operates online, these sets serve as physical reminders of what the company is built upon—a sense of being home. Upstairs, the bright room is bordered with living room-style setups that allow teams to get together and connect—outside of a stuffy or isolated boardroom. And in colourful velvets and of-the-moment pinks, the ambiance is a far cry from the grey-toned offices of the past. To top off the relaxed, homey feel—a friendly puppy, belonging to an employee—will likely run up to greet you when you walk in the door.
Not only is the space beautiful, it’s also highly functional for Article’s more than 150 full-time employees. According to Welton, “the indicators were that we were growing quickly. We needed flux for how we organized the team in the space. We tried to keep it adaptable.” With the company culture centering around openness and transparency, “we felt that having a lot of walls was contradictory; it was a big experiment to have that many desks in an open, contiguous space.” Welton was also able to work with the Low Tide team to weigh in on some key design decisions about the lobby and kitchen. “We chose an unconventional staff kitchen in the middle of the office to bring people together and foster casual encounters and connections. It’s a transparent place, so it’s all glass,” she explains. “It’s heartwarming to see people who have no other reason to engage with each other having conversations in the lunchroom. There are new people starting every week, so it feels really fluid.”
That fluidity and flexibility have allowed the Article team to host extracurricular events that not only help foster relationships between coworkers but keep their people happy and healthy. The music room, for example, led to the first-annual “Couchella”—an annual internal music festival. The adaptability of the space also makes way for a weekly fitness bootcamp led and practiced by employees.
With new employees starting every week, the ability for their space to both communicate their culture, while allowing for flexibility and expansion, has shown that you can protect what is sacred while leaving room for change and evolution.