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Character Arc

When Sony Pictures Imageworks moved into its new Vancouver HQ, it needed a city space worthy of an incredible cast.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Planning a city block inside a building

Perched like the web-slinger himself on top of the corner of Robson and Granville, the new 74,000-sq.ft. Sony Pictures Imageworks headquarters accommodates up to 700 employees. The office spans an entire city block and is in fact built using the principals of urban design. With design by DIALOG and construction by Fusion Projects the new HQ is organized around six neighbourhoods populated with sophisticated, flexible work and social spaces including war, meeting, and games rooms, as well as completely outfitted techno sweatboxes. The two crystalline open-aired atriums at the centre of the space act as navigation, much like a ring road linking the neighbourhoods and making navigating through them more intuitive.

The Sony story

The design embraces the story of Sony Pictures and the history of filmmaking through a collection of artifacts, props, maquette’s, sketches and technology. A 60ft backdrop wall is lined with framed animations, characters and scenes sacred to Sony’s story. Mixed in are blank whiteboard frames allowing the creative process to continue through the talented artists working at Sony today. Taking advantage of its extensive warehouse of memorabilia in Los Angeles, DIALOG and Fusion worked closely with Sony to appropriately display the mind-blowing props synonymous with some of the greatest films ever made. “It’s not every day, for example, that you get to determine if it’s a good idea to display Dr. Octopus’s arms or not!” said one of the DIALOG designers involved. “It’s kind of like playing with your own childhood dreams and definitely a fun challenge for all the designers involved.”

A play on light

Inspired by the artists needs for light and dark sensitive environments, the Sony space naturally lends itself to a concept mapped around this classic dichotomy. Light and dark are a central expression throughout the space, picking up on the plots, animations and movies that feature heroes vs. villains, good vs. evil. The light side represents the ideas, conceptual work, and ethereal dreaming required in this creative environment. The light side overlooks the Vancouver Art Gallery and the gardens of Robson Square. It features whimsical mushrooms and smoking caterpillars from “Alice in Wonderland” and is designed for artists and teams that are not impacted as much by light sensitivity. The dark side is oriented toward the city and peers straight down gritty Granville Street. It features imagery from “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Hotel Transylvania”. Artists here need to work in dark environments to ensure the highest possible colour quality and accuracy and these spaces are designed to accommodate.


When walking through different neighborhoods, it’s apparent that Sony Pictures Imageworks has already started to develop the character of the space in its own creative way. The workspaces are designed essentially as blank, flexible canvases that allow the character of each individual production to rise and fall for everybody to see, and quickly morph into the next production. And already, surreal micro-environments have organically popped up within the larger industrial office shell and include colourful Chinese lanterns and ‘Most Wanted’ posters associated with the films and teams working on them in the space.

Project facts

Size: 74,000 sq. ft./ 6,900 sq. m.
Builder: Fusion Projects
Client: Sony Pictures Imageworks
Completed: 2015


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