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Law Office Interiors – An Architects’ Insight

Meredith Connell

Developing trends in law office design show some distinct characteristics, leading architects Warren & Mahoney told LawFuel.

The firm, founded in Christchurch in 1955 and now operating across seven offices in Australia and New Zealand, has had considerable experience working with both law firms and others in office redesign projects.

Among their clients have been Harmos Horton Lusk, Chapman Tripp, Meredith Connell, Russell McVeagh and Forsyth Barr.

There are five, key factors that the firm identified that continue to have a major impact upon office design, including law firms.

1. The Open Plan move

Meredith Connell

It continues, along with the continued reduction of enclosed offices. 

The trend is towards designing open workspace which supports ease of collaboration, knowledge-sharing and mentoring of staff, but which places equal priority on focus and concentration as well.

2.  The Choice – Premium or Heritage Buildings?

Law firms retain their desire for premium office space, but there has been an increased emphasis upon heritage buildings with office space that provides increasing differentiation of law firm workplaces derived from brand, culture and client experience.

3. Reduced Space requirements

Harmos Horton Lusk

Whatever the choice of building, the tendency is towards reduced space, something that has been assisted by the increasingly flexible work situation of lawyers, enabled by technology and work practices generally.

There is a need to provide convenient access to spaces where all of the various work tasks required during the working day can be carried out, W&M say.

4.  Focus Requirement 

Chapman Tripp, Christchurch

Warren & Mahoney say that law firms recognise that focused, concentrative work is the foundation of what they do and prioritise this as a factor in their office design.

For instance, firms are aware of the need to provide appropriate acoustic environments to support focus, collaboration and privacy, when required and the need for private space for meetings and focused work is a key requirement for firms.

 

Meredith Connell

5. Differentiation

The need or desire for differentiation is one of the keys for law firms operating in an increasingly competitive environment and hence key decisions, such as whether to work n a heritage or a new building, will be fundamental to their office design.

This is based on “brand, culture and client experience”, W&M say and the increased move towards heritage space is one of the drivers behind law firms making such moves.

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