Wednesday 22 Dec 2010


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Portraying strength with design

The project intent for this confidential international law firm was to anchor the firm’s presence in Europe by portraying the strength and image of the company through design.

The client chose Sir Norman Foster’s iconic 30 St. Mary Axe tower of London, affectionately known as the Gherkin, as its office site. The interior architecture of the space was meant to complement the powerful, iconic exterior architecture of the building. The circular base-building dictated a unique floor-plan with curvilinear walls surrounding the attorney offices. The design program accommodates approximately 50 attorneys and the required support space, while providing enough flexibility for the evolving practice to double in size. A moveable wall system allows the work space to be reconfigured into an open space and allows the office units to be adapted into cellular single, double or triple units. The staircase was designed to accommodate for vertical growth allowing the office to expand to the floors above.

An expansive reception was designed with a central conference center, which serves as an attractive venue for receptions and large board meetings while providing a tool for business generation. As the visitor’s first impression, the extensive open reception area reflects the strength and influence of the firm within the legal services industry. Attorney offices along the perimeter employ translucent architectural elements that draw light from the outside in to the core. The calm and neutral color scheme allows the exterior views of London to become the highlight of the design.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP