The One for Designers

The Collective is a collaborative home for architects, builders and other creative companies

Name: The Collective Workspace
Neighbourhood: Yorkdale
Rent: From $150 a month for a flex membership to $2,900 for a private suite
Number of members: 45
Best perk: A massive on-site design library

Co-founders Carly Nemtean and Rocco Verrilli, both designers, used to work in an office where they shared space with a millworker, a stone fabricator and a commercial construction company. They loved working in close proximity to others in their field and sharing ideas. “There wasn’t a space that could act as a hub for the design industry in the city,” Nemtean says. “So we thought, If no one’s doing it, why don’t we?”

The result is a sprawling, 13,000-square-foot space that design firms, architects and builders have called home since it opened in November of 2019. There are 12 private workspaces, 10 hot desks, a podcast room, three communal kitchens plus a few executive suites with private kitchenettes. In February, they added a boutique gym, where member Jaclyn Genovese runs HIIT, boxing and yoga classes at an additional cost. There’s also a vast design library, with a collection of swatches, samples and design books for inspiration.

In the past year, membership numbers have shot up at the Collective—with so many Torontonians embarking on home improvement projects, there’s been increased demand for designers. “Many of our resident businesses have actually grown during the pandemic, which is a thrill for us,” Nemtean says. In the fall, she and Verrilli will open a second location in Mississauga with six offices, a library and a flex space.

Who works here: Maia Roffey, director and principal, Black Sheep Interior Design

“Our office is about the same amount of space and price as we’ve had previously, but it comes with a bunch of peripheral benefits. We frequently stick our heads out to chat with other designers and architects.”


The Collective’s entrance sets the high-design mood, with a cozy, burnt orange couch from Kare and luxe throw pillows from Lorraine Tuson. Window dressings, made with fabric from Robert Allen, provide a high-contrast background. Plush carpets throughout the Collective are from Thirty Six Knots:

The Collective’s extensive library allows designers (and their clients) to check out fabric swatches, tile samples, cabinet hardware, window dressings and more, right on site:

The podcast recording room has state-of-the-art audio equipment from Australian technology company Røde:

The Collective’s members belly up to the kitchen bar on stylish, woven-back barstools from Kare:


All the lighting is from Robinson Lighting and Bath:

Here’s a collaborative meeting space:

There are private phone booths for disruptive calls:

This whimsical, wildlife-themed bathroom wallpaper is from The Good Tile in Etobicoke; the emerald wall tile below comes from North York’s Deco-Tile:

In addition to the hot desks, there are also 11 dedicated desks. In total, there’s seating for 50 people at any given time:

Here’s an executive suite with a private kitchenette:

All of the art on display is from Pi Fine Art on Caledonia Road:

Here’s the gym:

And here’s the co-founders, Carly Nemtean and Rocco Verrilli: