Space to think

“The me&lewis office reminds you just how much of a positive effect that a bright, airy, fun space can have on the work that comes out of it.”   - Jody Levesque, Constellation Brands

“Great light, great energy, great creativity and an exceptional whisky collection. What more could a client ask for from an all-day meeting at the agency?”    - Steve Doyle, William Grant & Sons

Some people might look at a decomposing, midcentury low-rise office, complete with tangled, rusty pipes and water stained floor tiles and think, yeesh! While others see a future thing of beauty. Fortunately, the latter is the story of me&lewis’ newest home. Having outgrown the 100-year-old Kitsilano house they converted into an office and occupied for 7 years, they needed a new space that would honour their comfortable aesthetic and relaxed yet focused vibe.

At a glance:

Who does business here: me&lewis ideas. incorporated. Location: #300 - 2318 Oak Street, Vancouver Size: 10,000 sq ft Design oversight: Melissa Meehan

“I’d say the space was equal parts inspiring and intimidating,” says co-founder Paul Meehan. “The building had been a warehouse in the 70s and we wanted to maintain the integrity of what was originally a 1950s build.” Reclaimed wood in the ceilings actually dates to the 1930s, though other details such as the TPC roof membrane are thoroughly modern, reflecting sunlight and requiring less internal cooling in the summer.

Melissa Meehan, who managed the transformation, explains the priorities as creating an approachable and friendly space, working with the best of what they had and being environmentally progressive. The result is inviting, bright and open, with a carefully considered mix of legacy and the future, technology, and comfort. There’s a sense that a lot of smart work gets done, but features such as the fully stocked bar by the front door (William Grant & Sons, Molson Coors, and Constellation Brands are clients) and modern open kitchen and living room, are playful and relaxed.

Is the space on-brand? “Yes, for sure,” says creative strategist and co-founder Paul Meehan. “Jeff Lewis and I didn’t want your typical conversion. And we certainly didn’t want an office. We are an ideas company. So the aesthetic, the layout and the technology all needed to reflect who we are and our love of interacting with people."

The finished space is light and inspiring. The boardroom chalkboards, the high-tech yet unobtrusive technology and warm welcome make it great space for client collaboration. “We encourage clients to think of our space as a home away from home,” says Paul. “We were very purposeful in this aspect of the design – it is meant for sharing.”

And so a building that needed a full gutting back to the studs comes back to life as a metaphor for the company: vision, big ideas, fearless in execution. While it may not have been the original intent, to the visitor it becomes only logical to ask, “If they can do this with a building, imagine what they can do with my brand?”