The Japanese garden is a work of art, but it is also a place to reflect, rejuvenate, and achieve “total Zen.” Its landscape design is rooted in the asymmetrical, and most often simple, patterns and shapes found in nature. As a place of refuge, it’s an environment that fosters positivity, lightness, and peacefulness.
In the case of world-renowned video game company Capcom, emulating elements of the Japanese garden was a no-brainer when giving its Canadian headquarters a facelift. Capcom’s flagship office was founded over 30 years ago in Osaka, Japan, and the company prides itself on maintaining its Japanese roots in the designs of sister offices around the world. The refurbishing of the North Burnaby game studio, dubbed CapCalm, meant providing a much-needed element of Zen for the developers, engineers, and artists who work tirelessly to maintain the legacy of epic fantasy stories, adventures, and characters for their loyal gaming fanbase.
The refurbished 52,000-square-foot space is fresh and colourful. The cobalt blues, grey hues, and yellow accents (Capcom’s branded colours) found amongst desks, tables, and chairs bounce off the neutral white walls and grey flooring. Natural light illuminates the entire office, seeping through the large glass windows and revealing design details such as the cloud-like paintings splattered on the top of glass doors. Look above any communal workspace and you will notice that the once industrial exposed ceiling has been replaced by a delicate slabbed piece of wood, a reincarnate of a straw mat, or a tatami.
With segregated conference rooms, employees must voyage along a rock path gently lying over sand gardens. When the workday requires creative, active meetings with a team of animators and designers, staff members can head into the communal areas marked by monumental stone-like seats—a place to throw around ideas or trial the latest video game. Throughout the remainder of the new space, replicas of carefully hand-folded boxes meant to imitate origami are used as tables.
It wouldn’t be a true gaming space without an element of interactive design. Capcom, responsible for video games including Resident Evil and Street Fighter, pays homage to the koi fish with the installment of a digital pond projected over a two-storey wall. Among this, interactive elements of past animations, life-size figurines, and sketches are meant to inspire current employees, and to showcase the scope of the company’s legacy.
Capcom reminds us that man-made spaces are most effective when influenced by the beauty and simplicity of nature. The addition of CapCalm to the Greater Vancouver creative community reveals that the gaming industry is no longer simply associated with midnight basement-dwellers—instead, say hello to a trade filled with sunshine and fresh, enviable work spaces.
UPDATE, November 2018: Capcom has closed its Burnaby studio.
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