Photos: BlueShore’s new office makes execs mingle with workers

Natural Elements
To create a serene atmosphere, the interior features grasses, bamboo, waves hanging from the skylight and river rocks in the floor leading away from the boulders and turbulent water outside the entrance.

View from the Top
As well as panoramic views, lounge furniture and a giant barbecue, the roof deck has an outdoor meeting room with a gas fireplace. “It’s just another cool place to hang out,” says CEO Chris Catliff.

Meeting Place
Tucked under the TV when not in use, a trolley for bringing items from the kitchen to the Gambier meeting room is designed to look built in. Rooms on the second floor are named after islands; on the third floor, after m

Back Eddies
Collaboration areas are scattered throughout the office. “When there’s that cross-collaboration between departments, things don’t get into silos like they do at all the big banks,” says Catliff. “Everything we d

Down Time
The third-floor staff lounge has access to the roof deck and a kitchen. Natural materials include cork, used on the hallway wall as a notice board. The ceiling was left uncovered for a more industrial look.

BlueShore Financial builds collaboration into its new North Vancouver offices

BlueShore Financial’s head office, in the new 60,000-square-foot BlueShore Centre at 13th and Lonsdale, puts the emphasis on transparency and collaboration. Until last October, 200 staff members worked at four locations. Now “it’s everybody working together,” says BlueShore CEO Chris Catliff. “It’s about seeing each other, about being transparent.”

At the centre of the building is a three-storey atrium. “When I told my CFO we were going to take a four-storey building, make it into three storeys and then cut the middle out, he thought that wasn’t going to be very efficient,” Catliff says. “I wanted to have the feel of openness.”

The main floor is a signature BlueShore “financial spa,” designed to make banking a soothing experience with a West Coast flavour. Materials are natural and locally sourced, and the architecture is modelled after the high-end West Coast homes that BlueShore finances.

A grand staircase curves up to the offices: administration is on the top floor, with the best views, while executives are on the second floor, visible from above and below. Even the executive meeting room has glass walls onto the atrium. “They know when we’re meeting,” Catliff says.

There are multiple opportunities for impromptu meetings. Sitting areas called “collaboration eddies” are dotted throughout, some with a fireplace or TV. There is a lounge and small kitchen on both the second and third floors. “We want to have people that don’t normally work together bump together,” Catliff says. “That helps create collaboration and innovation.”