Designer Law: The Most Beautiful Legal Offices in the World (Part 1)

Designer Law: The Most Beautiful Legal Offices in the World (Part 1)

Law firms aren’t exactly renowned for their design prowess, uber-chic vibe or stylish ambience.

They’re kinda more ‘The Office’ than ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. But we’ve managed to find some seriously hot law firm offices that will actually make you swoon. And as good business and good design often go hand in hand, this might just be a trend on the up.

In Part 1 of our 3 Part series, we’ll take a sneak peek at the first 3 gorgeous legal offices worldwide. Enjoy.

DENVER, COLORADO

Bryan Cave HRO

Would you like to gaze at the romantic Rocky Mountains as you saunter into work and get ready for a day of litigation? Would the view be a distraction perhaps? No, of course not, a room with a view is essential!

The Denver office of international law firm Bryan Cave HRO (formerly Holme Roberts & Owen LLP), recently awarded Barrister’s Best Awards by Law Week Colorado for “Best Law Firm Lobby” and “Best Office View.”, is pretty special.

It has a state-of-the-art conference centre and a 41st floor lobby with magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains. How zen! That place must be filled with style-savvy, inspired lawyers, invigorated from the fresh mountain air they breathe and as calm as the office interiors they work in.

Re-designed by Denver’s Burkett Design Inc., the enviable view extends throughout the building offering loads of daylight (and of course mountain views) and the decor was given a suave modern update. And a big tick for energy efficiency – the design team collaborated with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to create an infrastructure that would save 36% in annual energy costs.

Speaking with ENR Mountain States, Gillian Johnson, lead designer, said that they redesigned the “entire entry sequence, so that when visitors arrive on the 41st floor, they step off the elevator and their breath is taken away by the expansive views of the mountains”.

“The reception and conference area is now a virtual backdrop to the view outside, a visual reference to the firm’s commitment to sustainability and the energy savings that the design realized”, said Gillian.

A world class design delivered on budget and a National Benchmark for Energy Efficiency stamp from the New Buildings Institute? Yes. Bravo, Denver.

LA, CALIFORNIA

Morrison & Foerster

Hands up who wants to work in a cutting-edge law office that looks like a boutique hotel? Ah, yep, I thought so. Now pop those hands down and I’ll describe it for you. It’s a real ‘mofo’. (No, I mean, really, that’s its website – mofo.com).

The brief for Barbara Dunn, architect from Gensler (LA), was to turn Morrison & Foerster, one of the largest Californian law firms, from a legal office into a luxe hotel, creating an energetic vibe and more relaxed collaboration between the staff. Moving downtown to a new office housed in the top four floors of the 62-story Aon Center, the revamped space occupies more than 77,000-square feet and boasts multiple open spaces as well as technology enhancements. The Aon Center remains one of the tallest, most recognizable buildings on the West Coast.

Gaze upwards in the lobby at Morrison & Foerster? You’ll see a flock-of-birds art installation and contemporary metal grillwork suspended from the ceiling. Feel like there’s lots of space in this firm? Aah, that’s due to the extra wide hallways. Speaking with the ABA Journal in 2014, Dunn said that by infusing the space with warm pops of colour and hospitality-inspired touches, she was able to achieve the “perfect balance between being comfortable but also looking professional and successful.”

There’s even a ‘lounge-brary’ – a high tech, hybrid library-lounge room (the result of the law firm’s “fun committee” planning with Gensler) which is graced with law and reference books, big comfy couches and throw pillows. Plus a cool cafe with sliding doors that expands to accommodate social events and functions. Can someone bring me my slippers and martini? Harvey would love it here.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Bouhan Falligant LLP (formerly Bouhan Williams Levy)

Who wouldn’t want to work in a restored Georgian mansion, steeped in history? This is miles away from some of the contemporary legal redesigns but just as noteworthy for its cultural appeal and charm.

Housed in the Armstrong House in Savannah, Bouhan Falligant LLP was even featured in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. Take your clients to the “conference room” – actually a formal dining room – and enjoy private offices that open out to onto the porch, overlooking a lavish fountain or the oak trees of Forsyth Park. Ooh, so very opulent and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Where’s my sweet tea and mint julep?

Fun facts: For the architecture lovers/nerds (like me), Armstrong House is a four-story granite and glazed brick Italian Renaissance home designed by Henrik Wallin and built by Olaf Otto during the years of 1916 to 1919. Originally the home of maritime/shipping magnate, George Ferguson Armstrong, his wife Lucy Camp Armstrong, and their daughter Lucy, they donated the home and gardens to the City of Savannah in 1935 to help establish a city-supported junior college which went on to become, according to the Atlanta Constitution, “the finest and most costly junior college building in the United States.” In 1970, after the college had moved sites, the predecessor law firm of Bouhan Falligant acquired the home from antique dealer and preservationist James A. Williams.

By the way, the picture above is a Partner’s office!!

In Part 2, we’ll take a journey down under to a stylish Sydney office and then head over to Canada and Stockholm for more inspiration! Stay tuned.

Oh and if you want to join a cool community of lawyers, sign up for early access to our communication platform here. It’ll be fun, I promise.

By Jacqui Walker

A fresh perspective on legal

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