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Smart City Sandbox

IBI Group’s design team created a dynamic, multi-purpose, technology-driven workspace that promotes innovation and collaboration.

IBI Group
Toronto, ON
5 Private "boxes"
70 People seated
200 People standing

Partner-led innovation hub

The Smart City Sandbox, located at IBI’s downtown Toronto head office, and designed by our corporate interiors team, is a partnership-driven innovation hub designed to cultivate the next generation of smart buildings and infrastructure in cities. With current partners, including IBI Group, Ontario Power Generation, The Weather Network, Slate, EllisDon, Ontario Centre of Innovation, Multiplex, and technology provider, Microsoft, the Sandbox offers entrepreneurs and start-ups an opportunity to explore new technologies and innovations, while gaining access to expert knowledge, data, mentoring, and potential funding and routes to market.

The Sandbox transports visitors into an immersive environment, starting with the lite entry portal — a threshold through which users enter the unique workplace experience. The intense black surfaces provide a dramatic backdrop for the technology experiences, contrasted by colour saturated “boxes” (rooms) that provide both individual and group workspaces. 

Our interior design team was inspired by the start-up philosophy with the goal of providing the Sandbox flexibility and scalability. The space consists of three zones:

  1. A central collaboration area
  2. An open community work space
  3. The coloured “boxes” 

The collaboration/community space is ideal for events and also encourages impromptu discussions and team meetings with its movable furniture, seated and counter-height shared tables and portable tech screens. It also features a breakout den in the corner for more intimate and casual gatherings. The colour saturated “boxes” throughout the space provide both large and small meeting rooms, featuring different options for postures and seating. There are also “boxes” that offer heads-down workspaces visitors to perform focused tasks. The Sandbox has over 70 seats for collaboration throughout. The work zone features 30 benching workstations, which are currently being used by IBI’s visualization team, adjacent to a zone for AV/VR presentations.

The space features sensor technology throughout, allowing the environment to double as a test lab, for which IBI Group is developing programs to collect data and assist in experiential design.

The virtual Sandbox

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, IBI’s in-house visualization team developed a digital twin of the Sandbox, which was leveraged for virtual programming and events. The virtual Sandbox offers community members the unique opportunity to increase the profile of their brand and latest smart city advances by leveraging a curated digital space alongside themed programming.

Virtual events and collaboration platforms are not a passing trend, but instead the new remote working reality has created an exciting opportunity to permanently augment the way we design these experiences, offering environmental and financial benefits to organizations. In addition to the Sandbox, our visualization team is developing custom digital engagement experiences that accommodate large conferences, VIP events, public engagement sessions, and everything in between.

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Award Winner


By Canadian Interiors

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Award Winner


Innovation in Workplace Design,
By VODA Award of Excellence

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Bronze masi Award


Office Design Over $80/sq. ft.,
By masi Design Awards

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Award Winer


By Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO)

"I wanted to take this opportunity to say wow! The ability to showcase OCI companies in the virtual Sandbox was amazing and a great addition to our AGM, allowing for interaction much like we have had at the physical AGMs of the past. The space looked great!"

OCI Director, Partnerships Development

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