The Verdict Is In
Peter Buchanan -- Interior Design, 11/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
In moving from the city, London's financial district, to Canary Wharf, about a mile east, Clifford Chance made an extra effort to ensure that the staff would follow. Besides more space, light, and views, that entailed providing better professional facilities and lifestyle amenities, 24-7. So Gensler entered into negotiations with the planned tower's architect, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, and developed a full interiors package, down to the signage—while the law firm's in-house magazine, In the Dock, enthused about the future Thames-side premises.
Legal staffers enjoy the bright, open floor plates of the 25,000-square-foot upper levels, each divided into what Gensler design director Allyn Dorey refers to as four "neighborhoods." Lining the perimeter are 10-by-20-foot offices for single and double occupancy; their gypsum-board side partitions can also be removed to form larger team spaces. Front partitions, which are glass, let light flow into administrative support areas.
The 50,000-square-foot floors of the building's podium house virtually all the most lavish staff and client facilities. Skylights brightly illuminate the staff restaurant, also used for social events such as quiz night, and the 20-meter swimming pool, separate from the large gymnasium one floor below. Downstairs from the gym's entrance, the corridor known as the Street extends from a coffee bar past a well-being center, a prayer room, a reprographics center, a beauty salon, and a travel office. For dining and presentation rooms, however, you have to go all the way up to the penthouse, on floor 31.
Below: Antonio Citterio's seating furnishes the penthouse multipurpose room.
Opposite, clockwise from top left: Applied graphics mark amenities along the Street. Client lounges are stacked on the second and third floors. Stainless-steel lettering contrasts with sycamore paneling. The staff restaurant features Arne Jacobsen chairs. Stairs and escalators connect the ground floor with a training center. In the multipurpose room, a digitally printed silk wall hanging combines land and sea maps from Scotland and Eastern Europe. This sign was designed for a sundries shop on the Street. Rotating loans from the Arts Council England include the lobby's iron sculpture by Reg Butler. A playful void reveals Harry Bertoia chairs in a client lounge.
Below: A client lounge's Bertoia chairs are paired with Uwe Fischer's tables.
Opposite, from top: Reception features a limestone floor, maple-veneer paneling, a desk fronted in fluorescent-backlit sandblasted glass, and a view of the Millennium Dome. The swimming pool is only 5 feet deep to avoid the need for a lifeguard. In the evening, the 450-seat staff restaurant becomes a venue for social events.
PROJECT TEAM: AMANDA BALDWIN; STEPHEN BRIGHT; KATJA ESSLING; DAVID OCONNELL; FRANK OSHEA; GARY PETERS; LISA WEEKS. TABLES (PENTHOUSE), ARMCHAIRS, SOFAS (PENTHOUSE, LOUNGES), COFFEE TABLES (LOUNGE): BB ITALIA. CARPET (PENTHOUSE, RECEPTION): TESSERA. CHAIRS (STAFF RESTAURANT): FRITZ HANSEN. SIDE CHAIRS (LOUNGE): KNOLL. CUSTOM BANQUETTE: WESTMINSTER JOINERY AND PARTITIONS. CARPET: MILLIKEN COMPANY. CUSTOM DESK (RECEPTION): SCOTTS OF THRAPSTON. FLOORING: PRIEST RESTORATION. LIGHTING CONSULTANT: ISOMETRIX LIGHTING + DESIGN. STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: HALCROW GROUP. MEP: HILSON MORAN.