Law and order

as featured in
Visual space and flexibility define the transformation of Bell Gully's Wellington office
A view of the reception area, wooden deck architecture, ceiling, daylighting, floor, flooring, interior design, lobby, real estate, brown
A view of the reception area, wooden deck and stairacse, wooden coffee table, tiled floor, desk cjairs, large window.

Proving that less can indeed be more, Seddon Associates responded to a plea from leading Wellington law firm Bell Gully to better rationalise the use of space across its existing floor plan by creating an open-plan environment that not only dispensed with the need for one of the floors, but provided a real affinity with the building's surroundings.

The expansive reception area, minimalist in design, but with the interest of curved wooden forms, affords panoramic views across the harbour. The distinctive stairwell leads up to the meeting rooms, with the offices situated one floor below.

According to designer Steve Seddon, the objective was to provide an environment appropriate to the functions of the legal profession one that enhanced communication, yet maintained acoustic privacy, with the flexibility to allow tasks and teams to change without further structural upheaval.


A view of the offices, glass screens, desks architecture, ceiling, daylighting, floor, flooring, interior design, office, table, wall, brown
A view of the offices, glass screens, desks and chairs, carpet.

"Each workspace is no greater than the task requires," he says. The office floors are close to open plan, but with full height glass walls, rather than part height screens, between perimeter workspaces. This has enabled an environment that is acoustically controlled, yet provides the visual space' essential to the overall design concept.

"It was vital to encourage as much eye contact as possible, to enhance the energy, movement and workflow," says Seddon. "Moreover, given the building's magnificent location, it was important to maintain a connection with what was outside."

The octagonal shape of the building can be quite disorienting, explains the designer. Therefore, the visual connection with the outside allows you to navigate your way around the interior by using external landmarks as points of reference.

A view of the meeting area, carpet, wooden ceiling, furniture, interior design, living room, real estate, red, gray
A view of the meeting area, carpet, wooden ceiling, white walls, glass table, black seats, wooden desk, lamps, artwork, white sofa, wooden coffee table.

The flexibility that allows people to be moved throughout the layout without compromising visual appeal represents a guiding philosophy of synergy between workplace and worker. And whilst as leaps of faith go, it may not have been in the "Trust me, I'm a lawyer" category, the willingness of Bell Gully to embrace the new concepts proposed by Seddon was, according to the designer, vital for the project's overall success.

Apr 21, 2006

Credit list

Construction
LT McGuinness
Structural engineer
Acoustics engineer
Hardware
Lockwood
Structural steel
Burnsfield
Metalwork
Fabricon
Tiling
Limestone Jurabeige, installed by Bramco Granite & Marble
Carpet
Feltex, installed by
Ceiling
Tiles by Formans
Workstations
Ultimet System from Kada Commercial Furniture
Glazing
Ultraglass
Client rep / managers
Wareham Cameron & Co
Fire consultant
Services engineer
Operable walls
Huppe System
Stairways/balustrades
Cabinetry
Millbrook
Blinds
Weathermaster
Flooring, reception
Paint
Veneers
American hard maple from Prime Panels
Security system
Nedax
Consultants on behalf of Bell Gully
Simon Watt, David Chisnall, Maggie Callicrate, Maureen Kelly
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