Tsubi Choy carries a graceful intelligence in her walk. And as I get to know her better over the next hour, I discover this is true of the way her mind works, too. As she stands to leave her desk, I admire her red, black, and cream dogtooth print tweed skirt – and then I notice her adjusting a baseball cap in the exact same fabric and my admiration quickly turns to awe. Her playfully sophisticated, confident sense of style hints at the fearlessness she brings to the team at flexible office provider, Canvas Offices. She is, in a word, fabulous.

We leave the bustle of Canvas HQ and take a short stroll under a grey London sky to Ozone Coffee in Shoreditch, a stone’s throw from Old Street station. The music is loud and the chatter is louder, and the open kitchen in the centre adds extra drama with all the chopping, whipping, charring, and dressing delicious things.

We get lucky with a booth that’s just become free. She orders mushrooms, I order fish, and I ask, how would you introduce yourself to a stranger?

She laughs as she slips into the role I’ve set. “Hi, I’m Tsubi. I’m a 30-year-old Londoner. I grew up in Bournemouth until I was 9, then we moved back to London. Now, my parents are in Richmond, but I’m in West Kensington, so it’s like 10 minutes off route. Mum actually does freelance work for Canvas now. She’s a garden and florist for the West Cluster buildings”.

Do you have the green finger gene, too?

“Absolutely not, I can kill a plant in seconds. She comes to my house and says, ‘Oh my god, look at the state of this plant!’. When she came to work at Canvas the one rule was ‘don’t tell me off at work’, but she did and everyone was loving it. It was like parent’s evening!

Everyone enjoys the dynamic though because I’m normally quite serious on the surface – so people seem to enjoy seeing a different side to me at work when she’s around.“


So what do you do at Canvas, when you’re not getting told off by your mum?

“My official title is ‘property development manager’. It’s a new role at Canvas but I’ve kind of been doing it in some capacity the whole time I’ve been here, which is coming up to 4 years now. But officially this role started in October last year.

Basically, I manage the process of developing a building. Refurbing it from whatever state we take it in, and turning it into a flex office, Canvas building. I manage everything from furniture procurement, working with the contractors, working with all the other departments within the business to make sure that all of their objectives are met within the building.”

As we were walking to Ozone, Tsubi mentioned she was renovating a flat, and that interiors was something she was passionate about.


I ask if the building refurbs are where her interior design skills come into their own?

“Well, yeah. Funnily enough, my mum trained as an interior designer, so I guess that somewhere was ingrained in me. I just enjoyed it and I was decorating my flat at the time and then it just so happened that a project was coming up in the West Cluster where we didn’t have a property development team.

There was no one managing the process so I was asked to take it on as a general manager with this as a side project. And then it happened again, and again, and again, and that’s worked in my favour.

“So I moved to Canvas from a bigger flexible office company and I already knew that I wanted to go into property development. I applied for a job internally there, and had good feedback but they had someone more experienced, so from there I was like, what do I do next?

I don’t really want to go back to school so I’m going to go to a start-up flexible office provider, and it just so happened that within about two months I already had the project that I wanted.”

Tsubi Choy creating artwork for new flex office building, 88 Kingsway, Holborn


And how did that first project go, seeing as you’d never done anything like it before?

“Oh, that project was challenging! It was Covid and Canvas had just signed the lease on Binney Street, then lockdown happened before anyone had had a chance to fully plan the development of the property. It was sitting empty, and at this point, we were unsure about the future of office space. Clients had a focus on keeping costs tight. So there were questions around where to invest money at that time. Budgets changed, design changed. And the product wasn’t what we originally expected it to be, it was better.

“There’s much more structure now and I’m better at managing the characters and expectations within the business in terms of what we can do within the set budgets we have for the refurbs.”


So have you learned something each time?

“Yeah, 100%. One of the biggest things I’ve changed is making sure that we have structure in how we do things.

So for all of the projects up until 88 Kingsway in Holborn [a 35,000 sqft Grade II Victorian building above Holborn station], I’d be the project manager and then the operational manager to finish the work and then start interacting with the clients, signing the spaces and then moving them in.

This is whilst also getting water machines delivered and coffee machines delivered and making sure that the signage was ready. So, it was a process of suddenly taking off one hat and putting on another one like really, really quickly.

“And obviously, there’s always delays in construction, so a lot of the time it’s really hard work learning to juggle these two roles and these two people that you have to be. One of them is client-facing, and the other is whatever you have to be to get the job done.

“But each time I’ve done it, I’ve had to write a small process, or create a spreadsheet that calculates this this and this, or work with a new system. Now I’m at a point where I feel quite comfortable. I’m not freaking out or panicking over the biggest building we’ve ever done but I’ve done it all before now and I know how to do it well.”


So what does life after 88 Kingsway look like?

This week, i’m tendering for interior architects for another project. I’m not sure if we’re going to take it yet but it’s one of those things, as I mentioned about learning from past mistakes – getting in there early and figuring out if it’s feasible through the design, because obviously that’s part of your budgeting process as well.

So, yeah, I’ve met two, and I need to try and fit in three more by Friday. The deadline’s really tight! 


What are the skills would you say make you good at what you do? 

 “It’s funny because I don’t really see it as a set of skills which sounds mad. On paper, I’m sure I write something like ‘project management skills’ etc, but I don’t know why, but I don’t see what I’m doing as ‘skills’ per se. I think being personable is quite important because you have to get people to do what you want.

That’s really, really the crux of this job, and also managing different characters because now there are a lot more stakeholders than before. Managing budgets and I must be calm under pressure.  

 “It’s so important to respect a working relationship. If you go back to project number two, a lot of people remember me yelling. People think it’s funny because I’m normally quite calm and don’t show that much emotion, so I wasn’t always calm under pressure.” 

Tsubi Choy, discussing her journey to becoming the property development manager for flex office company Canvas Offices


What are you most proud of that you’ve achieved so far? 

 “So now working on the biggest project so far at 88 Kingsway. We’re working with a different calibre of landlord, contractors and consultants, and some of the people who represent the landlord have been very complimentary and that’s something I’m really proud of. 

 “I think we’re playing in a different field now, and to have the acknowledgment from the people who have been in that field for a long time is really nice.

I feel a bit like an impostor because I’ve learned everything as I go and it means that sometimes I don’t do things the right way or sometimes I don’t understand all the language, but for someone who does understand all of that to be like “No, you’re fine, you should be here, you’re doing a good job”, that’s really rewarding.” 

 “Another thing I’m proud of in terms of the responsibility I have now, it’s the recognition from Ron and Oren [Rosenblum, the founders of Canvas], that they trust me with this project which is massive in my opinion.

In fact, when we did St John’s Lane, our flexible office space in Farringdon, I was picking all the furniture and that was more of a design thing, putting furniture together and making sure it looked good. And Ron was like, “Wow! I didn’t ask you at all after you presented something once, not at any point did I ask what you were up to and it looks great!” I thought that was great. It just shows how much he trusts me.” 


It’s a huge validation of your talent that they specially created a role for you to move to. How did that happen? 

 “I started speaking to them about what I wanted to do next and what I felt that the business needed, and it was a really collaborative conversation that ended in what the job role is now, but it started with me saying, ‘this is what I want, this is what I think we need’, and then we spent a couple of months hashing out what this job would look like before it was finished.” 


So is this your dream job? 

 “Well, to be honest, when I’m like out and about and get chatting to people and they say “Oh, do you like your job?” This is exactly what I wanted to be doing. Whether I knew it or not is different, but now that I’m in it, I know this is what I want.”  


Okay, we’re going to change the questions a little now. Imagine you are in a room with every single person you’ve ever met, who do you look for first?  

 “Oh, wow, ok. Probably both my grandads. I’m quite lucky I haven’t had much loss in my life, but those are the two that I’ve lost. I think one of them gave me the work ethic that I have, so my Chinese grandad was incredibly hard-working, he never took a break, but then he died shortly after retiring and we kind of felt like he’d stopped swimming, you know like if a fish stops swimming, they die. And that’s kind of how I saw him, you know, always on the move, always doing something and working for his family. 

 “And then the other grandad, I didn’t know as well, he was in Japan when I was a child, so I only got to see him when we went once every other year, and I regret how little I knew him, so it’d be nice to see him to see him again.” 


If you could choose a song to play every time you walked into a room, what would that song be?  

 “Okay, I was dreading a question about music because I like it but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. So whatever it would be, it would probably be a very classic, empowering feminist song. I knew I’d give a really boring answer because I genuinely just enjoyed listening to music that suits whatever mood I’m in, but I don’t build playlists or anything.

Although I do have one playlist called so ‘Gay anthems’ because I had a camp-themed birthday for my 30th and everyone had to dress up with feathers and sequins or whatever, and that has some lady Gaga and Cher on it.” 


Tsubi Choy, working with Junior interior designer


Are you a hunter or a gatherer?  

 “Hunter. It was my gut feel.” 


 If there was a box of all the things you’ve ever lost, what’s the one thing you’d search for?  

 “I’m known for being someone who loses stuff when drinking. I’d look for this vintage Burberry trench coat that I had altered to my size and then one day lost somewhere and I’ve never seen again. And it’s still haunting me! Honestly, I’m notorious for losing things when I’m out drinking.” 


 What drink do you think gets you in trouble?  

 “The one that gets me the least trouble is vodka and soda. The one that gets me the most trouble is probably red wine.” 


OK last one, if you could revisit a memory and go back to that moment in time to redo anything or just to be there, when would that be? 

 “I don’t know why, but it’s the first thing that came to my mind. When I was about nine I got a puppy. I’ve always been obsessed with dogs since I was a child, like really obsessed, probably unhealthily so, and I wasn’t allowed a dog because my mum always said she had allergies.

But when I turned nine and they dragged me away from Bournemouth to London they were like OK, you’re leaving all your friends so we’ll get you a puppy. But then the puppy had an accident and ate something poisonous, so it only lived to six months old. So I’d go back just before that happened and value what I had.” 


God that’s so sad! Are you going to get a dog? 

 “Oh, I have two, one of them is 11 so I’m waiting for the day I have my next big loss as he’s the sweetest dog in the world. And then I have this sausage dog who’s an absolute demon.” 


We can’t end on a puppy dying so let’s go for a money question. Let’s say I’ve just given you £50k and you have to spend it in one hour and you can’t spend it on the flat you’re renovating – GO! 

 “Well if it can’t go on the flat got a shopping spree, I love fashion. I think I’d go to Prada. I would have gone to Chanel, but I actually always dress a bit tweedy!  


Just like Tsubi, Canvas is going places. If you’re seriously self-motivated, have a passion for people, and think you have what it takes to join the team, come and talk to us today.  





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