Architect and Builders Magazine South Africa (March-April 2020) feature
Updated: Sep 8
Lawtons Africa, a South African Law firm which has it’s roots dating back to 1892, appointed Savile Row Tailored Environments to design a new workplace interior consisting of 7 floors that reflected the practice’s rich heritage and ability to compete on a global level while speaking to the local market position as progressive and approachable. The look ties into a modern base building aesthetic with the vision for their workplace design to align to their brand, desired client experience and employee culture.
Interiors: Savile Row Tailored Environments
Savile Row initially approached the project by analysing how todays legal workstyles have moved away from the typical layout of individual offices, favouring more collaboration, mentorship and teamwork which subsequently resulted in a hybrid law office with an increased need for office sharing and support spaces.
A mix of open plan workstations with high storage banks for privacy, individual offices and 2-person shared offices are set alongside smaller informal meeting areas. Break-away hubs and project team rooms encourage knowledge sharing, internal interaction and regular dialogue and optimise both formal and informal information flow, while smaller focus rooms provide spaces for conducting quiet research.
Although partners all have private offices, they consist of smaller glazed shopfront partitions with no doors facing these support spaces to portray the feeling of accessibility and transparency for staff members.
Savile Row were mindful of future change requirements, undertaking a future proofing strategy by specifying moveable office furniture systems in open plan areas to accommodate future layout changes which provide an inexpensive method of flexibility. Centrally located coffee and print stations throughout all five of the office floors ensure close-range access to support facilities while project rooms and work zones that are also located close to the cafe pause area benefit from dramatic views into a light filled atrium.
The reception on the 12th floor makes reference to a ‘Lawyers’s Library’ with wall ladders propped against bookshelves framed by black stained ash wall cladding. Hazelnut leather upholstered banquet seats with button detailing sit alongside contemporary high back armchairs in the waiting area. A feature spiral staircase links the reception to the 14th floor, housing the executive dining room, bar lounge and outdoor deck area. These uppermost floors were designed to provide a welcoming platform that is both elegant and timeless by using a sophisticated palette of contrasting dark and light materials.
A neutral base of black, greys and crisp whites are offset by warmer finishes in the form of brass, timbers and game leathers which are further enhanced by a range of muted greens, aubergine, navy and burgundy colour accents that speak to the diversity of the practice.
A variety of medium to large sized meeting rooms are placed alongside the reception to accommodate client meetings and negotiations with opponent lawyers.
Linen wallpapers, stucco wall finishes, graphic glass decals and a matching custom broadloom carpet add texture and pattern to the meeting rooms in opposition to the clean, simple lines of the overhead timber ceiling slats. Bespoke shop-fitted items include generously sized veneer meeting tables, custom servers lining the adjoining passages and ironmongery designed to run along the full height of all the meeting room doors to add a sophisticated touch. The work floors, whilst pared back, also maintain the professional aesthetic with the use of black shopfront frames and trims against a neutral base of greys and whites which are offset with patterned wallpapers and warmer vinyl planks found
in coffee pause areas.
Walking into the ground floor pre-function area preceding the auditorium seating 146 persons, one is met with suspended interlinking brass tube lighting pieces designed and manu-factured alongside the custom patterned broadloom carpet and Nero Marquina polished marble lined servers. To complete the ensemble, a curved banquette seat wraps the right side of the room whilst armchairs and tables provide ample waiting areas for guests.
Savile Row were further requested to design the staff cafeteria run by Olives and Plates which encompasses a calm palette of mint greens, taupe and natural timbers offset against overhead leaves against a black ceiling mimicking the feel that they float above patrons and staff while they dine. This look and feel is carried through to the private dining lounge off the cafeteria which features screening partitions in the form of sheer curtains to provide privacy.
The consistent design throughout all floors is a clear demonstration of Savile Row’s holistic vision for Lawton’s Africa which was successfully implemented by all parties involved in this project.
Lawtons Africa is a South African law firm. With roots that grew out of seeds sown in down-town Johannesburg in 1892, our history features various changes and different names. Our team of lawyers, including directors, consultants, associates and candidate attorneys is highly qualified, market-recognised and skilled. For further information, visit www.lawtonsafrica.com