Inside creative agency Anomaly’s downtown office, with a wall of skateboards and a Weslodge-inspired bar

Inside creative agency Anomaly’s downtown office, with a wall of skateboards and a Weslodge-inspired bar


What: Global creative agency Anomaly’s Toronto office
Where: The basement and main floor of an industrial building at King and Spadina
How big: 23,000 square feet for 94 employees

In 2012, Manhattan-based creative agency Anomaly set up a small six-person shop in Toronto, led by Franke Rodriguez (a former exec at the New York office). Four years and three expansions later, the now-sprawling Spadina Street office holds almost 100 employees—but the vibe is still boutique-y. In fact, the office only has two rules: the music can never stop, and they can never run out of beer. “People pay us to be creative,” says Rodriguez. “So we need a space that energizes and inspires the staff.” To keep their creative juices flowing, staff can play some ping pong, foosball, air hockey, throw darts, engage in a little friendly boxing or chill out with video games (there used to be a half-pipe for skateboarding, but Anomaly had to ditch it for liability reasons).

There’s a story behind practically every piece of art or knick-knack inside the office. Artist Kevin Lyons, who was a managing partner of Anomaly NYC and global creative director at Urban Outfitters, painted this monster-themed mural during a party to celebrate the brand’s partnership with alternative high school program Oasis Skateboard Factory in 2013:


The agency’s unofficial motto is a quote from Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the outside world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” It’s plastered everywhere, including on the entrance to the main office space:


New employees add an image that represents them to this wall when they’re hired:


Here’s where the firm showcases their clients (which include Budweiser, Converse, Nike and Shocktop) and awards, like a pair of prestigious Cannes Lions:


Staff change seats every six months, so they get to know everyone in the office, and not just their team or immediate desk neighbours. Sometimes they’re grouped by department and other times they’re organized by a numbered lottery draw:


Currently, Rodriguez sits at the end of a row of desks. There are no executive offices at Anomaly:


Much of the office’s artwork is courtesy of students from the Oasis Skateboard Factory at the Oasis Alternative Secondary School. Anomaly sponsors the program, mentors the students and hosts events and art shows at their office. They even took a class to New York City one year to see their work displayed in Anomaly’s Manhattan office:


This hallway’s museum-like display was the work of a graduating class:


If staff get too stressed out, they can book a massage. A masseuse comes in every Thursday:


The office’s second expansion includes a cozy living room inspired by the decor at Weslodge. It’s equipped with a full-service bar, dartboard, foosball table, lounge area and a few taxidermied deer heads (this one is named Sheldon). The space can fit up to 60 people for events:


There’s always Budweiser—one of Anomaly’s major clients—on tap:


There’s lots of signed sports and music memorabilia around the office from past Anomaly events. Rodriguez gets every visiting celeb or professional athlete to sign “Stay hungry, stay humble”—the company’s other unofficial motto—on jerseys, footballs, music equipment and other merch. This keg, from a Metallica concert and autographed by the band, was literally infused with heavy metal music: vibrating speakers blasting the concert were attached to the keg during the gig:


There’s also a Bud Light-stocked fridge, just in case there’s no one on hand to man the bar:


Each meeting room has a different theme: There’s a Brooklyn hip-hop lounge and a room inspired by Roger Sterling from Mad Men. This one is the cottage room:


The company recently added a 10,000-square-foot production studio and office space downstairs, where production staff can work, film commercials and edit content. There’s a full kitchen, bar, professional shooting studio, soundproof edit suites and an “innovation lab,” that’s used for developing high-tech ideas for clients:


The entrance to the production studio features a mural by Toronto artist Maria Qamar of Hatecopy:


In the innovation lab, this 3D printer was programmed to automatically print out encouraging tweets from fans onto hockey players’ stick tape before a game. It’s not being used by any teams at the moment, but is an example of some of the ideas the team can come up with and execute in-house: