Articles / Office design

Norton Legal's new HQ

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This new workplace for a contemporary law firm features a distinctly industrial aesthetic – fitting for the building

Large windows throughout this office mean no shortage of light for the staff inside


About the project (Text provided by architect): Norton Legal is new workplace for a modest but sophisticated contemporary law firm within an existing industrial building in Melbourne's west.

The space was a relatively compact warehouse of 76 square metres and needed to include work areas, a meeting room, entry/waiting and reception area, printing and archive spaces, a breakout and a place for kids to hang out after school.

The tight spatial requirements and large program posed some difficult planning problems and resulted in solutions that often combined the spaces for multiple uses. This included ditching a traditional reception area and including a combined meeting room/entry/waiting area, with a curtain to help give meetings some privacy should there be an unexpected delivery or visitor. In addition the breakout area also doubles as a place for children to watch TV after school.

A limited budget meant only selective insertions of new built structure were possible along with modest material selections that could be creatively detailed and dealt with to achieve the desired warm and sophisticated outcome. Plywood was stained and fluorescent light fittings were painted black.

The addition of the warmer finishes was also able to soften the lovely (but hard) textured precast. Sound attenuation was also important in the intimate space as the 4 staff are often on the phone simultaneously. Both translucent and solid curtains were used to absorb sound, but also served to further soften the spaces, give some flexibility to the zoning and offer veiled views and light through the space.


First published date: 01 November 2017

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