The 37-storey Nexen Tower (formerly the Nova Corporation Tower at completion in 1982) is an award-winning iconic building in the west end of downtown Calgary. In 2014, the Owners commissioned our firm to assess and to sensitively upscale the design, finishes and furnishings of the public areas including the main floor lobby and the +15 level.
Our first gesture is to maintain the late modernist lines of the spaces and open up the seating areas to integrate them with the public circulation areas. In doing so, it created opportunities for locating food and retail components as island kiosks or features within a series of intimate “living and dining rooms” on the second floor for the public and office tenants. Greenery and bloom in plant boxes provided separation and visual variety in the seating area.
The main floor lobby is regarded as the front door and reception of the main tenant of the tower, thus its specific requirements for security gates and corporate identity. We introduced a material and colour palate that complemented and enhanced the original Luna Pearl polished granite on the walls and flamed finish granite on the floors. The 2-storey lobby, whilst grand and secure, also had to be welcoming, bright and of human scale and textures.
We inserted a contrasting colour of Angola Black granite in leathered, polished and water jetted finishes in concert with Sapele Quarter Cut natural finished wood that visually warms up the space. The main feature of the main floor entrance is the reception area which happens to be the security desk as well. Its high light is the cluster of custom built pendant lights, as seen from the outside when walking up to the front doors that then immediately draw the visitor to the reception desk upon entry into the building. The reception desk is of grand scale at 40’ long to accommodate 3 to 4 security personnel. It is built of wood, granite to seemingly be a remnant of the granite wall as it cascades down—a quiet and elegant reference to the nearby Canadian Rockies and alluvial plains at the foot of the mountains
Furniture selection and materials also contribute to its success as a corporate front door with intimate conversation areas of soft seating. The furniture selection for the main floor and second floor incorporated the need to break down and re-sophisticate the original colour palate. Furniture and furnishings are essential features within the bright and open public areas and deployed as creating intimate warm human occupation. Textured yet durable materials, calibrated to the frequency of use, are prevalent in all furniture types.