Finding an inspiring, accommodating location for your business is no easy feat.
The right home can enrich your company’s collective character, and help to create your story. In a city where commercial real estate is at a premium, the search can be months to years in the making. Toronto-based production company Mile Inn was willing to wait for the perfect fit.
A collective of highly specialized production boutiques, Mile Inn creates content celebrated around the world. With award-winning work for such companies as Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, VICE Media and Absolut, the collective has been attracting A-list artists and producers into the fold, a list that now includes music video auteur, Director X (Drake, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber).
With many renowned composers, photographers, directors and producers in tow, it wasn’t long before Mile Inn outgrew its office space at 720 King St. W. They needed a new commercial property that could reflect the company’s aesthetic and foster its varied skill sets.
“We were prepared for a long hunt,” said Yan Dal Santo, co-president of Mile Inn. “We had such particular needs — soundproof studios with dimmers, a cinema room, a multitude of dedicated office spaces — but we also wanted enough common area to inspire one another and our client base.”
Mile Inn found just that in the vacant three-storey property across the street from the AGO. The Victorian building at 314 Dundas St. W. is an architectural gem and one considered so uniquely Toronto that in 2006 the city designated it an official heritage site. Having once housed Deschamps Recording Studios, the site came ready-built with solid recording studio shells, isolation booths and reflective ceilings. The oversized foyer and raw square footage (8,500 feet) allowed for the possibility of large living room and kitchen areas alongside the many office and studio spaces.
It was important to Dal Santo that, despite its long, labyrinthine hallways, the Mile Inn office still felt like a small shop. Each artist has a specific area of production expertise and needed to have his or her own customized environment within which to work. The value of this collective, however, is also found in the sum of its parts, and the design had to further cultivate collaboration amongst the team.
“We needed to work with a designer who could establish that flow, but also capture the myriad personalities working at Mile Inn,” Dal Santo explained. “Our artists are eclectic enough to reflect the diversity of this city; having found a heritage building that screams Toronto, we wanted a work environment that honoured that.”
Interior designer Mahmood Popal from MAAST was brought on board, and he delivered inspired aesthetic touches that elevate the space in a unique and individualized way. A second-floor, Tiki-themed studio captures sound engineer Harry Knazan’s affinity for the Beach Boys, while the walls of introspective composer JD Leblanc’s suite are lined with the pages from vintage novels. Dal Santo’s own workspace is also a study in self, reflecting his love for the sand and the surf.
Walking through the twisting corridors of Mile Inn, one can’t help feel a part of an unfolding story, and with its perfect match of artist to environment, it becomes a true Toronto tale.