Although not traditionally “trendy”, the legal sector is increasingly finding that reimagined office design is worth the investment. Today we look at why exactly businesses in the sector might want to make that effort and how they can harness that power to reap a range of rewards – with a little help from your friendly commercial interior design pros at Ben Johnson Interiors, of course!
We reminisce on some of the work we’ve done for our own clients and have included some of our favourite other workplaces in the legal space from around the globe, to hopefully inspire you to get cracking on your own interior design project.
Why exactly is office design important for businesses in the legal sector?
Well, we’re glad you asked. It might’ve once been the done thing to merely offer your employees a grey box with minimal perks, low suspended ceilings and migraine-inducing lighting, but that no longer cuts the mustard. In fact, it’ll be having a negative impact on both mood and productivity. (Not least because migraines do not tend to be conducive to good work!)
Sectors across the board are moving away from the plain, corporate aesthetic that the legal sector may have accepted in yesteryear, and now the focus is very much on employee wellbeing and creating a more purposeful and innovatively designed office that people are proud to work in and happy to gravitate to.
We helped Weightmans LLP go for a bright, fresh vibe and throw any stuffy, traditional design right out of the window.
We’ve been recently working on this workspace for Weightmans LLP in their Leeds office (pictured above and below). Forget about stuffy, corporate grey or old-fashioned mahogany! This is a bright and light space that’s a pleasure to spend time in. Weightmans wanted to retain and repurpose as much of the existing fit-out and fixtures as possible whilst adding their own brand flair with sustainability at the forefront.
The whole modern design is fresh and agile, offering employees the use of standing desks, a client suite, quiet rooms, meeting rooms, catering facilities and a social hub.
Biophilic design like this wall in the Weightman’s office is an ideal way to maximise on well-being and add more life to a space – literally! (See our previous post on Plants for Productivity for the benefits)
Our Top Legal Sector Office Designs From Around the Globe:
Zashin & Rich – Cleveland, USA
Now that law firms are considering the overall experience of their workspace (for both clients and employees), a firm’s identity can have a dynamic impact on client impressions, talent attraction and retention, and employee experiences. The modern workplace of Zashin & Rich, designed by Vocon, is a fine example of this being done right. (Photography by Jim Maguire)
They’ve acknowledged the mix of generations working in their space but differentiated from traditional law firm office design, looking for ways to incorporate twists on traditional materials. For example, rather than going straight for classic mahogany desks, using a cypress that is burned on the edges creates a very rock ‘n roll feel.
Instead of a stuffy private lounge, there’s now a snazzy bar and lobby area. And who wouldn’t love that? There are even little touches to acknowledge Steve Zashin’s favourite band, KISS. Very cool!
Warner Norcross & Judd – Detroit, USA
Now here are 27,000 square feet of clean lines and class!
Hed have created the perfect combo of open and full of natural light in the Warner Detroit office, with inspiring views of the city. They’re now confident that their new and extremely attractive office environment has undoubtedly helped the company immeasurably and will continue to do so as it grows year on year.
Hogan Lovell – Beijing, China
Global law firm Hogan Lovells and workplace design studio MCX Interior collaborated on HL’s new office in Beijing to really encourage their employees to succeed. They’ve helped their team think, feel and work better, knowing they now come to work each day in an office with an abundance of natural lighting, clean air, comfortable temperatures, lovely views and an overall inspiring design.
Sustainability was key here too. The sustainable design features reduce energy and water consumption, introduce biophilic design and improve air quality. Impressive credentials indeed.
Swaab – Sydney, Australia
Featuring the relaxed, tranquil, casual aesthetic to end all casual aesthetics. This triumphant and gorgeous office (Photos by Terence Chin) boasts client meeting rooms framed by wooden portals and bespoke doors and a large break-out space with an outdoor terrace.
Swaab and Hammond Studio have opted to move from a traditional cellular office floor layout to a cheerful open-plan workspace which shares access to daylight and views of Australia Square, offering their employees somewhere they can be proud of.
So, is smart office design important for the legal sector?
A resounding yes! Hopefully, with our above examples, we’ve shown you just how exciting office design can be, and the importance of designing with a purpose for any industry.
Whether it’s a post-pandemic refresh you’re after – something we discussed at length in this post – or a total overhaul and restrategise for the future, the office these days really needs to offer something dramatically different from the norm to attract the top talent in the workforce, improve employee satisfaction and boost productivity.
Get in touch with us and let’s chat about how we can work together to create a unique office design for your professional company in a highly competitive industry.