By Anna Guy
Canada’s most successful companies—think Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, McCain, Sobeys, Folger Rubinoff, Grant Thornton—don’t get there accidentally. Every aspect of their business is designed for maximum efficiency and productivity, including their business environments. That’s where SGH Design Partners steps in.
SGH Design Partners is Canada’s leading independent, privately-owned corporate interior design studio. For over 30 years, SGH has delivered workplace design solutions for projects of all scales and sizes. Owned by two partners, Monika Sarkisian and John Tanfield, the company’s success and longevity is rooted in unparalleled customers service, attentiveness, and an undiluted focus on building solutions with strong branded identities for its clients.
Whether your sector is technology, finance, law, consumer branding, or professional services, SGH understands your company’s working environment should enhance your business—not just house it. Though the company’s roster is filled with a diverse range of clients, the approach to a project is always the same: a deep understanding of the company’s objective and culture.
“Each project is distinct, with different needs and unique requirements,” says Monika Sarkisian, Partner. “Analysis and strategic thinking are the first steps to creating a space that fosters cultural enhancement, collaboration, and innovation.”
No two SGH project is alike, because no two companies are alike. “Because we are servicing the different industry types, there is a different language to apply to each client—we have a different conversation with each client,” says Sarkisian.
The SGH team is very sensitive to how companies operate and how SGH services can align with their clients’ objectives and goals. “You cannot transfer everything to everybody—that is what we flush out, to best understand the capacity of change they are able to or want to undergo.”
As prime consultants, SGH services are end-to-end. Starting as early as working with a realtor to do a pre-lease analysis on building layout, SGH services extend to design, technical, and conceptual development, including things such as branding and graphics overlay, security, culture development, and more.
“We also help companies analyze prior office environments, strategy analysis, workplace trends and where design is going, as all of this relates to the well-being of people, the environment, security, identity and business objective,” says Sarkisian.
A look at SGH projects shows the distinct nature of each. The sweeping, S-shaped chesterfield upholstered in Sobeys-green in the entrance of that office. Linear, minimal, and bright offices for a law firm (which sound-proof glass walls), and a hub where business professionals can meet, connect and access expert advice. Large, glossy campaigns hung in the Puma office, with large meeting spaces with walls for hanging apparel. And this is just what meets the eye—what you don’t see is the administration, workplace strategy, interior design, relocation services, and change management.
“The analysis of the look and feel of each office is based on how each operates and functional requirements and what do they need to get out of their employees becomes a forerunner for us in how we ask the right questions,” says John Tanfield, Partner.
Two years ago, SGH announced significant market expansion and strategic growth for the continuation of the firm’s market leadership and exceptional client service. Sarkisian and Tanfield took over leadership (after the retirement of the previous partners), and also established offices in Vancouver and Halifax, the latter of which already has numerous projects underway for clients such as TD Bank, Bell Aliant, Armour Group, CREIT, Crombie, FCV Technologies, NTT Data, to name a few. Vancouver has followed with strong and quick development with clients looking for more integrated service and attention, project competed and underway such as Scotiabank, TD Bank and Raymond James all serviced by SGH on a national capacity.
“Our expansion into Nova Scotia and British Columbia resulted from a need by our clients to service their work from coast to coast,” says Tanfield. “Our business model supports the local economy by building an expanding team of local professionals servicing the accounts.”
“Ultimately, successful businesses are so because of many factors, and their office environment is a significant one,” says Tanfield. SGH design team manages the entire design process, proving that project controls and creativity easily coexist, while providing exceptional design solutions, simplifying project issues and exceeding client expectations.
“We are big enough to exceed your needs and small enough to care,” says Tanfield. “Where we have earned a reputation of confidence and trust is, at an ownership level, we are very involved, and our clients know they are our priority. Because we are very specialized and focused on what we are good at, our clients know that their office environment is going to reflect the success, pride, and excellence of their organization. And they know that their clients and partners are going to walk in and understand this, too, when they are there.”