Theater in the round
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 10/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
"Something kind of out-there" is how Lisa Bottom, principal of Bottom Duvivier, recalls her brief for a San Francisco law firm's office, a collaboration between Bottom Duvivier and Turnbull Griffin Haesloop. By out-there she means edgy. But the phrase also describes the airy 22,000-square-foot space's feeling of floating above the bay—an impression particularly noticeable in the reception area. "The design makes you aware that you've arrived somewhere special, slipped between the city and the water," says principal Eric Haesloop.
If the office feels loftier than it has any right to, given the deep floor plate and 9-foot ceiling, credit architectural sleight of hand as well as furniture choices. Rud Thygesen and Johnny Sørensen's gravity-defying beech-wood sofas, circa 1970, populate the lobby, forming a circle beneath a round skylight in the subtly vaulted maple-slat ceiling—"very difficult to pull off in a high-rise," stresses Bottom.
Bookending the lobby are conference rooms with full-height windows. The library lies between, tucked behind staggered shojilike screens of maple and Lumasite acrylic. All library furniture is foldable or wheeled, so the room converts easily into an event space—perfect for parties and, most important, employee well-being. Thanks to generous natural light and prevailing openness, says Bottom, "There's not a bad seat in the house."