And here it is – the final instalment in our 3 Part Designer Law series, where we showcase gorgeous legal offices from around the globe. The kind of city hubs where lawyers strut their shiny stilettos and pointy designer shoes across marble foyers and gaze out at soaring towers and impressive city skylines. Well, actually, they’re probably all a little busy working their arse off impressing Partners/clients/each other to be doing much ‘gazing’ but it conjures up a glamorous image doesn’t it?
The Hague, Netherlands
One of the outstanding features is a Jetsons-ish oval reception desk on the ground floor, situated beneath a central block of balconies and a black, Lloyd Wright/NY Guggenheim-style cast-iron spiral staircase that weaves up from the ground floor to the very top.
Bold, artistic, practical and unique, this modern design packs a lot of punch and is very easy on the eye. There is a light-filled central area with linked atriums and floating office floors, a legal library with working desks and a less formal bar/cafe spot featuring high stools, bench seating and a flat screen TV.
It’s all light and air and light oak with a touch of the dramatic. It oozes class, professionalism and calm.
Winning a prestigious AIA design excellence award in 2011 for designing the interior of Jenner & Block’s Chicago headquarters, Goettsch Partners was briefed to create “an environment that fosters a nimble, high-performance culture while enabling a collaborative and highly interactive work process”.
Sophisticated, elegant and modern and featuring swathes of marble, the office of this elite national law firm on the 45th floor at 353 N. Clark Street also boasts floor-to-ceiling glass office facades, demountable walls, workspace “fishbowl” meeting areas, bar-style seating in the kitchen areas and translucent glazed conference walls to achieve the combined aim of productivity, performance and collaboration.
The 500+ attorney firm established in 1914 was originally housed in the former IBM building (now AMA Plaza) designed by famous architect, Mies Van Der Rohe but they soon realised they needed a more efficient working space for their staff, moving to N. Clark Street in 2009. Interestingly, the Clark Street building was built by Dirk Lohan of Lohan Anderson, the grandson of Van Der Rohe. An eye for design clearly runs in the family!
Occupying 14 floors of the River North office tower, it offers stunning views from 12 foot windows on the 45th floor which lends a sense of depth and airiness to the space. It also features a 28,780-square-foot banquet-style conference room that can host more than 200 people and has panoramic city views (an inspiring outlook for those tense M&A deals and less than inspiring in-house CLE meetings).
James Prendergast, now at Gensler architects, consulted with the staff to ensure that the architects met the brief perfectly – the result was a design influenced and inspired by the styles of Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier as well as a functional, flexible working space.
Speaking with Chicago Lawyer Magazine in June 2015, Partner, Donald Resnick, confirmed that the new office has state-of-the art technology, including a 44th floor mock courtroom with large video screens for judges, jurors and observers and a podium that provides electricity for laptops and other devices.
“When you move into a new space, tech is usually a key driver,” Resnick said. “The challenge is not to design for today’s tech. That’s easy. When you sign a 15-year lease with options, you design for tech 10 to 15 years from now.”
Cool office, great city, friendly people (my recent visit to Chicago confirmed this!). What could be better?
Allen & Overy
One of our lovely readers pointed out that Allen & Overy’s London offices have a rooftop garden with a big BBQ, giant jenga, a beautifully designed (and subsidized) cafe that turns into a bar on Thursday and Fridays and an “awesome” client services area. In fact, we’ve discovered it has 3 landscaped green roof terraces with “lavender” gardens so it sounds pretty deserving to us – we couldn’t resist!
Moving into its flagship office Bishops Square in the historic Spitalfields area in 2006 and described as “vibrant, energetic, diverse and international”, this state-of-the-art space was designed and built by leading architects, Foster & Partners in 2005.
In addition to the appealing features listed above, it offers fitness, data and knowledge centres, a fully equipped lecture theatre, a fiction library where you can borrow and donate books (there are only so many 18th century House of Lords judgments lawyers can devour), a music room, a multi-faith contemplation room, an in-house doctor, physio, beauty salon and dentist, free parking for about 300 bicycles and facilities for charging electric cars.
Its solar panels form part of the largest commercial photovoltaic installation in Europe and its green roof terraces encourage biodiversity and provide a relaxation haven for its inhabitants. An eight storey tall 3D matrix of light globes suspended in the North Atrium of the Allen & Overy building (designed and installed by Jason Bruges) was the winner of the Workplace Environment category, Design Week Awards in 2009.
It’s surprising attorneys don’t just bring their pillow, PJs and duvet or quilt (‘doona’ for the Aussies) and move in! Maybe it’s like Ikea, you can never really get out … hmmm maybe that’s the point ..
But definitely a gold star for green design and urban landscaping, A&E.
So there it is. Our final Part 3 in the Designer Law series. We’d love to have your thoughts on your favourite law firm offices around the globe – we may even have to do another series! NB: Allen & Overy has some pretty chic offices in other cities so we may not be done yet.
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