Here’s a very simple rule for any would-be design journalists: if a project is described as funky or zany, it probably isn’t the project you’re looking for. Think that self-titled office joker who refers to him- or herself as ‘whacky’. He or she is not.
N ow don’t get us wrong, we’re not set-in-our-ways conservatives – au contraire. We love looking at projects that set new benchmarks and push design boundaries. The problem with the majority of ‘funky’ interiors is that they have been led by fashion or trend – and therefore will be out of fashion within months.
What we are always looking for are sustainable, fit-for-purpose, sensitive schemes that look to put the welfare and feelings of staff and open communication and interaction at their heart.
Therefore we didn’t think twice about accepting a kind offer to look at the brilliant new offices of leading law firm Boodle Hatfield.
Boodle Hatfield is one of the oldest law firms in the UK, having been founded in 1722 the firm is steeped in history and culture. In contrast (and we always like a bit of contrast) Boodle Hatfield had bravely selected to be the first occupant in this impressive new state of the art glass and steel building, taking 24,000 sq ft on the 9th and 10th floors.
‘They were previously on the corner of New Bond Street and Oxford Street – a very traditional Mayfair location, Resonate’s Pernille Stafford tells us. ‘The move was triggered by a lease break. What was great is that Boodle Hatfield was the first tenant into 240’.
The design emphasis here is a mix of the contemporary and traditional, which has provided an exciting juxtaposition of styles and finishes.
‘The real challenge here was that you come into the middle of the floorplate rather than coming into a preferred view over the river…’
After a number of visioning sessions with over 75 of the staff, Resonate Interiors had a good understanding of the brief and the key criteria for the project. The major challenge, as with all law firms, was the amount of cellular space required, and also where to locate the front of house to maximise on the amazing river views of London. Client areas and reception are now situated centrally on the 10th floor, opposite the lift core, with a huge barisol ceiling designed to imitate natural light.
‘The real challenge here was that you come into the middle of the floorplate rather than coming into a preferred view over the river,’ Pernille reveals. ‘You come into quite a dark space, so we’ve used the barisol ceiling to almost create an atrium, and then you have a processional walk past a series of fantastic artwork through to an incredible bronze sculpture that acts as a pivot opening up to a 360 degree view of the Thames, and the historic rooftops of London.’
The reception is an elegant space, housing a variety of seating areas, with a backdrop of stunning ceramic tiles, concealing storage behind, and offset with the Boodle Hatfield feature wall (nicknamed the Lego wall). The desk is clad in the softest leather with the logo embossed out to portray a sense of longevity and style.
Clever use of a feature timber ceiling leads visitors from reception to the business lounge, where we find that bespoke bronze twisted sculpture.
This acts as a focal point leading into the well-appointed lounge, which has a 5* hotel like ambience with service to match. This area allows clients to relax and take calls before and after meetings. Surrounding this is the meeting suite, which opens via a series of sliding folding walls to create a function space for over 200 guests, who can enjoy the stunning backdrop.
A Fiddleback weathered sycamore veneer has been specifically chosen for its interesting figuring (the delicate detailing in the timber is from the trees straining against the wind in coastal locations) which was then laid in a diamond pattern, enhancing the timber detail.
Bespoke pieces of joinery have been designed in every room to accommodate all AV and catering needs. Throughout the spaces specific artwork and handmade pieces of glass have been selected to work with the scheme, creating a personal touch rather than that of a commercial office environment. Artwork, painted bricks and printed spine books have been carefully and creatively considered to reflect the firm’s journey from Mayfair to Southwark and provide a real talking point for the meeting room environments.
The workspace, in contrast to the softer tones of the meeting room suite, features contemporary and cutting edge design, with black and white workwall furniture by Bene and crisp sliding doors by Radii partitions. The majority of cellular offices house two diagonally situated workwalls with bespoke storage to sit within a glass portal, allowing the perimeter natural light to penetrate to the depth of the building. Subtle use of grey tones is heavily contrasted by a bright red feature colour. Copier and tea points are also a feature with brightly coloured tiles and Bolon floors and backlit Perspex logos for each area.
The breakout area on the 9th floor is much more of a fun and welcoming environment, with bright pink Bolon floor and feature furniture by Vitra and Allermuir. This is contrasted with a bespoke stone breakfast bar and all the facilities required for the 120 plus staff. The distinctive back wall acts as an acoustic backdrop, as well as a visual feature with offset colourful Perspex panels.
There is incredible attention to detail throughout the space, some of which give a smart nod to the firm’s heritage. ‘In the front of house areas we’ve designed Georgian style manifestations which originate from Georgian style windows’ Pernille tells us. ‘Also, the lighting scheme here is actually laid out in a plan of all the roads it takes to get here from Bond Street – we took all the different angles and laid them out to make a decorative element. People wouldn’t know – but it was important to us and to our client.
Stella Smith, Business Development Director at Boodle Hatfield, is happy to give credit where it’s due. ‘Thank you to Resonate Interiors for creating a lovely office for us,’ she says. ‘The reaction f rom the staff when we moved in was fantastic. They just love the way that the office has been designed, the furniture and the little extras like the cushions and the art in the meeting room areas, which make it feel like a boutique hotel. It has been great working with Resonate and we look forward to continuing to work with them on Grosvenor Street.’
Now there’s a little teaser for you –our lips are sealed for now.
There is incredible attention to detail throughout the space, some of which give a smart nod to the firm’s heritage.
Angela Conner, Director of IT & Office Services at Boodle Hatfield, adds: ‘Wow…it is amazing to be working in a fantastic workplace that was only thoughts and ideas this time last year. There are so many happy faces around
‘Overall this is a scheme of contrast and quality, of light and shade, depth and design and one we hope Boodle Hatfield are proud to call their new home. This project has been such a privilege to be involved in from the outset.
‘I have to say that they have been delightful – such a lovely client to work for,’ Pernille concludes. ‘This is a really great business with good people all the way through and it has been a real pleasure to work hard for them.
Now you know when you’ve found a really great project story when you realise that, yes, it is truly sustainable, fit-for-purpose and sensitive – and that is merely the opening statement.