Leading Workplace Strategies

How Cygnus has supported safe, accessible, and inspiring office environments for the Government of British Columbia.

Leading Workplace Strategies (LWS) is a Government of British Columbia initiative to provide ministry offices that support flexible and varying workstyles by integrating technology, culture and space in innovative ways.

Cygnus led the design of environmental graphics that include prominent wall murals for open collaborative spaces, window treatments that lend privacy to enclosed spaces and quiet rooms, and wayfinding that improves the overall effectiveness of multi-function offices. Our work has contributed to transformed workspaces that foster collaboration and engagement, while communicating important messages related environmental practices, indigenous land rights, and local context.

Beginning in 2014, our partnership with LWS has evolved to include over 30 government offices representing numerous stakeholders and ministry tenants, and has developed in coordination with multiple architectural and interior design teams. Our outcomes include single level 8,000 sq ft offices to multi-level 125,000 sq ft spaces while ensuring a consistent approach to a multi-year, multi-site initiative.

At a Glance


Forty Completed Projects

Throughout the past six years, Cygnus has completed forty projects for Leading Workplace Strategies and the Government of BC.


Seven Architectural Partners

Cygnus has collaborated with seven different architectural partners throughout our time working on LWS projects.


Fourteen Different Cities

The LWS projects Cygnus consulted on spanned across fourteen different British Columbia cities.

Shared Vision

Team Collaboration

Our understanding of the LWS initiative and ongoing partnership lends important continuity to complex, ever-changing project teams that include government workspace planners, representatives from ministry tenants, architectural prime consultants, and interior designers. Our continued success has come from a desire to build consensus among stakeholders, including bi-weekly collaborative meetings with ministry staff to share ideas, discuss progress, and better integrate our teams.

Shared Vision

We find a shared vision at the outset by leading participants through a collaborative session focused on an open flow of ideas. To support this, Cygnus developed an LWS creative toolkit that outlines project goals and provides a guided process for participants to discuss visual themes, the prominence of graphics, privacy requirements, and specific project outcomes. The result builds consensus and establishes a clear design brief from the outset.

Graphics Standards

Need for Guidelines

With multiple sites redeveloped at the same time by separate architectural and design teams, developing a common approach became vital to minimizing cost and schedule overruns, and ensuring consistent quality of outcomes from one consultant group to another. Expanding on established standards known as the Blueprint<https://blueprint.gov.bc.ca/>, guidelines for environmental graphics provide an overall framework for design and implementation of graphics. This resulted in a standard approach for workplace planners and external consultants that ensures outcomes support LWS objectives.

Use of Guidelines

The LWS environmental graphic design guidelines provide broad themes for visual concepts, and specifications for placement, materials, scale, and implementation strategies. Balancing consistency with creativity, the guidelines support opportunities that respond to specific ministry requirements, the interior design, and unique site attributes of each space.

Design Templates
Cygnus developed templates for design concepts to support ministry sites under 10,000 sq ft where a comprehensive process is not feasible. For these sites, one of four templated concepts can be tailored to reflect interior design and site attributes. This approach accommodates a condensed schedule, and smaller project scale while ensuring LWS goals are achieved. Building on a multi-year partnership, this approach will provide value for LWS in the next phase of development. 

Predictable Process

Concept Development
We developed initial concepts based on visual themes discussed at the outset of the project. Visual themes refer to broad categories such as landscape, architectural, and historical attributes, or non-site specific directions including abstract shapes, infographics, or typography. Once consensus was established around preferred themes, multiple directions explore graphic, photographic, and illustrative approaches that incorporate local attributes, reflect the interior and architectural design of the space, and adhere to LWS standards. Concepts were created while taking cues from the architectural and interior design, ensuring a visually cohesive approach.

Managed Implementation
Cygnus provided continuity through the implementation of the project by conducting site visits, assisting with vendor selection, reviewing samples and prototypes, and working with architectural teams to adapt to construction schedules. Remaining involved through delivery has become an important part of the overall success of the environmental graphics programs.

15117 101st Ave, Surrey

Cygnus was tasked to create a unique environmental design solution for the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s 1040 m2 space in Surrey, BC that included both Ministry back of house and public facing spaces. Our work included designs for feature walls, interior glazing, lockers, room id and brand implementation, while keeping with the established interior design aesthetics. Cygnus worked in collaboration with First Nations advisors to create a series of special feature walls, each with a symbolic meaning that represents a traditional First Nations teaching.

1810 Blanshard St, Victoria

The design aspects of the new office suite for the Government of BC’s Leading Workplace Strategies (LWS) are inspired by the natural landscape of BC. Cygnus was brought on to design environmental graphics throughout the office in order to highlight the spaces and create a strong sense of place within the work environment. The graphic design solution works in tandem with the architecture and interior design of the building, and reflects the beauty of the surrounding area in BC.

525 Superior St, Capital Park, Victoria

For their Capital Park offices, LWS approached Cygnus for a graphics program on each floor that would represent its own identity within the overall building theme of ‘Victoria: The Capital City’, as well as First Nations graphics or elements to be represented in designated collaboration spaces throughout the facility. The resulting environmental graphic design program provides value by enriching the visual characteristics of the office, highlighting collaboration spaces, helping to provide a sense of ownership to mobile workers, and communicating environmentally sustainable initiatives.