Mason Studio reimagines its Toronto workspace “for the greater good”

Toronto interiors firm Mason Studio has redesigned its offices to offer community programming like exhibitions, events and other public-facing activities.

Mason Studio relaunched its workspace as a new hybrid office and cultural hub to serve “the greater good” during the DesignTO festival earlier this year.

Atrium with plant and moss installation suspended from above
Mason Studio has redesigned its two-storey office building to serve as both a workspace and a cultural community hub

As well as an office for the studio’s team members, the building in Pelham Park now operates as a gallery space, community library, fabrication hub, experimentation space for non-profits and a coffee bar to name a few.

“Today’s office is no longer just a place for work, but rather a space for conversation and discourse, a space for inspiration and rejuvenation, and a space for community to get involved, and gather and share knowledge,” said the team.

Orange outline of a house suspended above pastel-coloured furniture
The space hosts a variety of exhibitions, installations and events, including An Optimistic Future pictured here

The two-storey, industrial style building is largely decorated white, with curtains used to divide the various spaces and functions.

A double-height atrium can house artworks and installations, which are able to be suspended from the ceiling beams.

Architectural materials laid out on a large table
A materials library is open to local architects and designers

Among the areas within the building is a plant-filled study garden upstairs, where stools and chairs are placed around mossy tables that sprout foliage from their centres.

“The greenery and natural elements of the garden create a sense of tranquility, which helps reduce stress and improve overall well-being,” said Mason Studio.

A plant-filled study area
The study garden allows team and community members to work and read among the greenery

An open materials library can be utilised by local architects and designers, and a “give-one-take-one” book library is open to all community members.

Mason Studio also hosts storytime sessions for the children of their team and other community members. “This experiment was a reminder of how vital play is as a tool to socialize, learn and focus — even in the workplace,” the team said.

Tables with plants that sprout from their centres
White curtains are used to divide the building’s various functions and areas

During the annual Toronto design festival DesignTO, Mason Studio hosted a series of installations and activations to create a space where visitors “could experience an optimistic vision of the future”.

For example, a temporary pay-what-you-want cafe donated any funds collected to local non-profit organisations.

“These types of new amenities not only stimulate local economies but also contribute to the cultural vitality of the community,” said Mason Studio.

The inaugural art installation in The Gallery at Mason Studio, a collaborative effort named Full Moon Reflected On The Ocean At 01:34, comprised a giant glowing orb that was reflected on sheets of fan-blown mylar fabric.

Two rows of wooden desks with bookshelves above
A community library and workspace is offered as a resource

In March 2023, the studio partnered with Toronto-based contemporary art gallery Cooper Cole Gallery to present works by emerging BIPOC and marginalised artists in the space.

Then in April, The Gallery at Mason Studio hosted Canadian artist Kadrah Mensah‘s exhibition titled Surely, You’re Joking, which included video, sculpture, and installations intended to normalise digital body manipulation.

A glowing white sphere reflected in shiny material below
The Gallery at Mason Studio’s inaugural installation comprised a large glowing sphere reflected in fan-blown mylar sheets below

Mason Studio was founded over a decade ago by Stanley Sun and Ashley Rumsey, who have since completed projects that range from a cloud-like installation to the interiors of the Kimpton Saint George hotel.

The most recent edition of DesignTO, Toronto’s citywide celebration of design, took place from 20-29 January 2023. Find more design events, talks and installations on the Dezeen Events Guide.

The photography is by Scott Norsworthy.

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