Denton Associates has completed a £2.5m design and build project for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s second office in London, in what is believed to represent a six-figure investment in design by the US law firm.
The 2984m2 space, which is located next to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London and will accommodate more than 130 staff, represents a major investment for the firm, says Cadwalader head of administration Alison Smith.
‘Our last offices were 1022m2 so this is a huge move,’ she says. ‘We wanted a combination of functionality and luxury and [a space] that allows our clients to see that we have a significant presence in London.’
‘Our brief was for contemporary, light and functional offices that need to have [design] longevity,’ adds Smith.
Denton Associates managing director Mike Halewood says, ‘The client wanted a modern, crisp environment, where clients would be suitably impressed, but not feel [the design] was overly opulent.’
Lawyers tend to work in ‘cellular spaces’, with fee earners having their own offices, and this necessitates long, thin corridors, says Denton Associates designer Bill Kain. The consultancy installed glazed frontages and glass doors to minimise the ‘tunnel effect, he says.
‘Our design concept creates an interior window and a light, airy feel. The US office is very dark wood-oriented and the firm here wanted to divorce itself from that. Although we’ve used maple as a base-build, glass and stainless steel [predominate],’ adds Kain.
The main challenge was incorporating the ‘dense cabling’ of IT systems into tight ceiling and floor voids, says Halewood.
The group was awarded the work in June 2001 without a pitch. It had previously designed the client’s first London office in 1998.