KPMG is a professional service company that provides audit, tax and advisory services, which is headquartered in the Netherlands. As one of the Big Four auditors, the international company has offices all over the world, including Canada, where it was rated as one of the country’s top employers for eight consecutive years from 2002 to 2010.

Recently, the company decided to expand its six-floor office space in Vancouver to a nine-floor, 160,000-square-foot workplace for its 1,000 employees. The project included a detailed functional space program and full interior design services, which was accomplished using a range of porcelain and glass tile from Casalgrande Padana, Ceramiche Caesar and Interstyle Ceramic + Glass.

“KPMG transitioned from a primarily enclosed office space to a more transparent office environment using smaller offices with glass fronts, open workstations and benching,” said Ricky Gruetz, associate at Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning in Vancouver, Canada. “Kasian’s design created an open environment that allowed for the penetration of natural light, fostered collaboration through more dedicated teaming spaces and maximized the use of KPMG’s current real estate.

“The original objective was to renovate 10 floors,” the interior designer explained. “Through introducing hoteling and densifying the floor plates by reducing office numbers and sizes and moving to a more open plan, Kasian has been able to accommodate KPMG’s program within nine floors with a major reduction in construction costs and overhead.”

A sustainable outlook

Since the design team sought to receive LEED Gold certification for the project, sustainability was a key factor in selecting the tile. “Casalgrande Padana’s stoneware tile, Metallo, is entirely made of natural raw materials and manufactured through a closed-circuit process that stands out for an extremely low environmental impact,” said Gruetz. “Each of the renovated floors includes this tile in the lobbies, reception area, K-Kafé and refreshment centers and portions of the renovated internal staircase.

“We also used a beautiful, locally made glass tile fabricated by Interstyle in our lobbies, Barcode, which was customized to fit our lobby feature wall to avoid having odd cuts of tile,” she went on to say. “This unique tile made up of fused bars of colored glass changes appearance as you pass by the lobby feature wall.”

A decorative stone-inspired mosaic from Ceramiche Caesar’s Absolute collection in the color “White Star” was also utilized for the floor-to-ceiling fireplace surround that observably separates the kitchen and open lounge areas, which has a distinct texture and complements the other neutral shades on the walls and floors.

Collaboratively, more than 25,000 square feet of tile was used throughout the new space. Although maintenance and sustainability are always major influences in Kasian’s designs, an array of other factors are also taken into consideration, including durability, slip resistance, cost, and look and feel. “In the case of KPMG, we wanted tile that had a timeless, clean, contemporary look, with a West Coast aesthetic,” said Gruetz.

The entire project took around five years to complete, which required a lot of teamwork between the design team and contractors to ensure the schedule was accommodated, as well as the staff members who remained onsite throughout the project’s duration. “We spent a fair bit of time planning, discussing and checking in with the site to make sure everything was running smoothly,” said Gruetz. “We were lucky enough to have the same construction manager and tile sub-trade for the whole duration of the project, which ensured consistency floor-to-floor.”

Although the construction process went relatively smoothly, the uneven floor surfaces throughout the building presented a bit of a challenge on the eleventh floor in the client services room, where it was sloped up from the core of the building to the perimeter walls. “The reception area was a feature space and it was the final floor in the construction phasing, so there was a lot of discussion and concern around how to best deal with the problem,” said Gruetz. “In the end, with some very strategic leveling to soften the up-and-down of the floor and a great construction and sub-trade team, we were able to mitigate the problem.”

Since the office’s completion, Gruetz and her team have received very positive feedback about the new space, which employees get to enjoy more and more each day.


Vancouver, Canada

ARCHITECT: Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning, Vancouver, Canada

TILE SUPPLIER: Stone Tile, Vancouver, Canada (Casalgrande Padana’s Metallo series); Ican Tile Distributors, Ltd., Burnaby, Canada (Ceramiche Caesar’s Absolute series); Interstyle Ceramic + Glass, Burnaby, Canada (Barcode collection)

TILE INSTALLER: Aligned Floor Covering, Inc., Burnaby, Canada

CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Reotech Construction, Ltd., Coquitlam, Canada