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A new, dedicated client floor with ample space for meetings, entertaining and the latest technology gives law firm Chapman Tripp a leading edge

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A LEADING national law firm makes a major premises move perhaps once in 25 years. Considerations for the new offices, therefore, must encompass ideas to improve on the past, the necessities of present day practice, and an eye cast firmly into the future.

How will the law be practised more than two decades on from a technological standpoint? Will staffing levels increase with the advent of more advanced office systems? And what extra efficiency measures will be commonplace in office life 20 years from now?

It was issues like these, combined with a desire to reflect the firm's standing at the forefront of the legal profession, that influenced Chapman Tripp's brief to workplace designers Geyer and architects Warren and Mahoney, when the law firm leased the top six floors of the Maritime Towers in Wellington.

Chapman Tripp chief executive Alastair Carruthers says that as one of Wellington's most significant businesses, the firm is delighted to be anchor tenantsin the first premium office tower to be built in recent years.

The client centre is located on the top floor and enjoys panoramic views across the harbour, bays and hills beyond. The space has been designed to be client-focused and outward looking, with a variety of areas flexible enough to allow the firm to hold functions from meetings and presentations to dinners.

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Meetings requiring privacy, such as negotiations and arbitrations, are held in a suite that can be closed off with secure access.

Behind the client centre reception desk is a glass-reinforced concrete wall, adding a sense of gravity and weight to the area. Square, recessed light spaces sit inside the wall, with diffused colours used to change the mood from tranquil during the working day to dynamic or sophisticated at an evening function.

Part of the brief to Geyer focused on creating character in the meeting rooms through the use of lighting, furniture, art and objects. Clients were consulted on the areas in which many would be spending long hours, and feedback centred on the importance of comfort. Suede walls, coat stands and binoculars were incorporated as additional points of interest.

On the other five floors, an even mix of cellular and open-plan spaces was designed to create an environment conducive to staff collaboration and allow privacy. The open spaces were placed closest to the windows, allowing plenty of natural light to reach the internal work areas. Staff were involved in testing the new work stations and making decisions about furniture.

Timber from a sustainable source was used throughout the fit-out, and energy efficient lighting activated by heat and movement was specified.

Advanced audiovisual technology, such as programmable lighting and recessed screens that lower from the ceiling at the touch of a button, is incorporated into meeting rooms and boardrooms to assist with communications and presentations.

"As well as attractive and productive office space and systems for staff, we are proud to have built an innovative client centre, which provides a new home for doing business in Wellington," says Carruthers.

For further information, contact Chapman Tripp, 10 Customhouse Quay, PO Box 993, Wellington, phone (04) 499 5999, fax (04) 472 7111. Email: info@chapmantripp.com, or visit the website:www.chapmantripp.com .

First published date: 30 March 2007

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