Workspace of the Month: Inside Pinterest’s Colourful New Toronto Office

The office is inspired by all things Canadiana, like maple syrup, poutine and plaid
Pinterest recently opened its new Canadian headquarters in Toronto (photography: Ebti Nabag)

In our Workspace series, CB is featuring interesting, smart-designed and one-of-a-kind spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces to unconventional setups—like this beauty company run out of a rural farmhouse and this carbon-bike company located in a former auto body shop—we are looking to showcase the most unique and beautiful spaces from all industries. This month we are profiling the new Toronto office of Pinterest.

Since opening its first Canadian office in 2018, the San Francisco-headquartered image-sharing and social-networking site has grown its local team to more than 150 staff. In September, Pinterest unveiled its new Toronto base to accommodate its growing teams across engineering, sales, marketing and communications.

Located in a renovated 1920s office building in the city’s financial district, Pinterest’s office spans three floors and occupies more than 4,683 square metres. Kathy Aberin, head of workplace and design at Pinterest, says when designing the company’s international offices, her team looks for inspiration from the location of each site. “For the new Toronto office, we also had the opportunity to survey our employees and local leadership to find out what was important to them,” she says. “The overall request by our employees was to celebrate ‘everything Canadiana.'” That meant pulling inspiration from nearby spots like Allan Gardens, and decorating walls with works from local artists like Avleen Kaur, Emily May Rose and Curtia Wright. Meeting rooms are also themed based on Canadian staples like plaid, maple syrup and poutine.

The architect behind the project is Gensler Architects while the interior was by Pinterest’s in-house design team who furnished the space with items from Insidesource. Media Objectives did the graphic design found around the office building, like the wayfinding signage that has colourful numbers to mark the different floors.

The workspace is intended to inspire employees and allow them to move around as they see fit. Should someone want to set up at a workstation, there are 188 to choose from, but team members are also welcome to sit in the cafe or a common open space throughout the day. “This new office space was thoughtfully designed by our team to stimulate creativity and foster collaboration,” says Kristie Painting, Pinterest’s country manager for Canada.

Because Pinterest has a flexible work policy that allows staff to work from home or the office, meeting rooms were designed to allow for both in-person and video experiences; chairs set up in a semi-circle facing large video screens allow at-home employees to feel as if they’re in the room.

And for those in the office, it’s not all work and no play. Pinterest’s space has a game area, an indoor garden and a library with a speakeasy-inspired room tucked behind a hidden door. Here’s a look inside.

Upon entering the new workspace, visitors and staff alike can enjoy refreshments from Pinterest’s cafe, located next to the front lobby. The area features a coffee bar (that will also serve wine) where employees can load up on espresso and get cozy in a booth—all of which have power outlets so laptops can be plugged in.
Pinterest has in-house tech support located just around the corner from the cafe. Employees can troubleshoot any issues with a tech expert, and play foosball while waiting for their computer issues to be solved.
This conference room, used for large board meetings and client events, is inspired by modern Canadian cabins and features locally sourced wood. Pinterest is committed to sustainability, so its design team reused about 75 per cent of the materials left from the previous tenants of the office space.
Pinterest wanted to create its own greenhouse, so designers used hundreds of real plants to create a space inspired by Allan Gardens. The leafy area is where workers can come to relax and recharge and has multiple seating options to encourage a change of posture—including a lounge to lay down.
Inside the library is a hidden door that leads to an intimate speakeasy-inspired room. Employees can socialize, enjoy a break or listen to some music.
Many of the meeting rooms are inspired by Canadian themes as well as boards popular on Pinterest. The “donut” room is designed to look like the colourful dessert recipes found on the site, with hundreds of ping pong balls hung from the ceiling to represent sprinkles. There are even QR codes inside the rooms that take you to the relevant Pinterest board.