Sarah Prouse

Underground Design

We were asked by RGD Canada to participate in their country-wide virtual studio crawl. We were pretty excited about sharing our workspace(s) with everyone. And while we don’t have a typical office—we thought it would be interesting for others to see how the hybrid thing works for us.
Brent and Natasha at the table, with the dogs

We had to figure out what to actually show. Our main space is still in the basement of Brent’s house, where it’s been for years. Since the pandemic, the way we’ve used that space has changed. The team works remotely most of the time and we come together about once a week at Brent’s. We converted the space that used to have a bunch of desks, to a lounge area. It’s a great place to hang out and collaborate. We concentrated our tour there, showing people what it’s like when we DO work in person.

Brent giving an office tour
Brent showing folks around the office.

Since we do the remote thing too, we wanted to share some of our at-home set-ups. Ok, but how? was the big question. This was tricky. Everyone’s work spaces are different, and it’s not like we have our own production crew who could film it. So what should we do? Is there a voice over? Or footage with music? What would people even want to know about this aspect of how we work? Ultimately we decided to make it easy. Everyone filmed selfie-style with their phones. This is a personal space after all, so this style of footage made a lot of sense! Each of us shared our desks, and a favourite part of our workspace.

Sarah shows off her desk
Natasha shares her space
Melissa shares her space
Elmira shows her at home set-up

While preparing to film our studio tour, we thought about how the office has evolved. The funny thing is—Fusion has been “underground” for many of our 28 years! The first office was in Norm’s (original co-founder with Brent) parent’s basement. Even our “grown up” office downtown in Liberty Village was technically in the basement!

In 2008, we realized our Liberty Village office just didn’t make sense anymore, so we packed it up and set up in—you guessed it—another basement. This time in Brent’s first home in Markham.

First basement office in Markham
2008—the teenie basement office in Markham.

We worried that clients would think our basement office wasn’t “professional”, but soon realized that they really didn’t notice or care WHERE or WHAT our office was. We kept producing awesome work, and were great to work with, so the office didn’t matter. As long as it was a great space to work from, it worked for our team.

Since the office was set up in a portion of Brent’s home, when he moved, the office moved—to another basement in Markham. This was great, as our team was growing. We used the larger basement space to set up a “real” office space, with a bunch of workstations and a conference table. 

Brent eating lunch at a busy desk filled with phones and computers
When we first moved in, and just got up and running—the chaos!
Sarah painting Fusion green on the wall in the new basement office
Can’t have a Fusion office with out some GREEN! Sarah starts painting the new space.

We know that as the world, team and our business evolve so will our spaces and we cant wait to see where it all takes us next—hopefully somewhere with windows.

Check out our segment from the RGD Studio Crawl and see our space(s)! You can also watch Brent chat about working in Graphic Design in the GTA.

As long as it was a great space to work from, it worked for our team.”

Fusion team at the table, eating lunch