Inside Flight Centre’s impressive new Toronto office that was inspired by The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Inside Flight Centre’s impressive new Toronto office that was inspired by The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Photograph by Adrien Williams

What: The Australian travel agency’s conceptual new office
Where: Two floors of a building at King and Spadina
How big: Over 10,000 square feet for approximately 50 people

Flight Centre’s new home base looks more like a space-age Hogwarts library than a travel agency’s head office. The company bought the King West corner plot from Allied Capital over a year and a half ago, and enlisted Quadrangle to help turn the space into a travel mecca inspired by explorers’ clubs and, more interestingly, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. “The goal was to create an aspirational space that would make people want to travel,” says president John Beauvais. So instead of cramped booths and worn-out maps hanging on the wall (the scene at the company’s previous Eaton Centre offices), there’s grand architecture, high-tech fixtures and swanky decorations. Most of the airy main floor is devoted to what Beauvais calls “flex space”— it’s basically an enormous open-concept living room (complete with bookshelves and cozy reading nooks) that’s used to host travel events or woo major clients.

The dramatic entrance contrasts the building’s original wooden beams and pillars with a futuristic black box that holds the main conference room:

Photograph by Adrien Williams

The lobby is devoted to the brand’s retail team. Anyone who needs help planning a personal vacation can just stroll up to the counter and chat to a representative. The day’s best deals are displayed on screens and the floors are decorated with passport stamps:

The meeting room was inspired by a board room in Boston’s Fairmont hotel. “It’s where the important decisions get made,” says Beauvais:

The design team sourced these mobile leather suitcase desks from Restoration Hardware:

An open-concept kitchen is at the centre of the flex space. “We needed a big kitchen because it’s always the most popular spot in a party,” says Beauvais. Catered lunches like this one happen frequently:

There are a few communal tables for execs who are visiting from out of town:

Shelving units are decorated with travel-related knick-knacks:

This minimalist corner could have been plucked right out of an interiors magazine:

On the last day of every month, the location hosts a party for all Flight Centre employees who work in the area. Every year, the top sales associates get to go to a global conference (this year it’s in Berlin). And yes, all staff enjoy massive discounts on trips: