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Great Offices: an ad agency’s quirky John Street headquarters, complete with slide

Great Office Spaces: Grip

What: Grip Ltd., an ad agency with clients like Honda, Bell, Budweiser, Samsung, Labatt and Kokanee, among others
Where: A brick and beam building at John and Queen
How Big: 15,000 square feet on three floors for a staff of 150

A trip down the orange acrylic slide at the centre of Grip’s office is an unofficial rite of passage for new employees. It’s steep and slippery enough to thrill—architect Johnson Chou, who designed the space in 2006, almost went through the window opposite the base on the first test run and spent much of that night sanding down the surface to add some resistance. Grip’s office deviates from the average grey-carpeted, cubicle-filled workplace in other ways, too: the padded rubber reception desk resembles a giant tire, a nod to the agency’s auto­motive clients; the boardroom was inspired by a vintage beer fridge; and a fireman’s pole offers yet another fanciful alternative to the stairs. Staff have access to a range of quirky spaces for collabor­ating, areas built to resemble, variously, a sauna, a hot tub (with beer-filled cooler, of course) and a fast-food restaurant. If the place looks vaguely familiar, it may be because it was the backdrop for Kardinal Offishall’s “Turn It Up” video.