Commercial, Workplace, Interiors
Newcastle Architecture Awards – 2023 – Entry Interior Architecture
Hicksons Lawyers Workplace reflects their unique culture and personality as contemporary lawyers in Newcastle. They are friendly, approachable, quirky, sociable, relatable, considerate, fun and honest. They are not your typical lawyers. They like to flex above and beyond pre-conceived ideas of lawyers, working within the constraints of the law. This space was designed to reflect these values.
Hicksons Lawyers approached SDA with one main objective: to create a space that reflects their unique culture and personality as contemporary lawyers in Newcastle. Taking this as the conceptual driver, SDA formed a deep understanding of what this culture was and how it could then be translated into a workplace.
Upon entry, a generous waiting area draws you through into an open team breakout space. Typically, this type of space is hidden away for lunch, coffee or a quick chat. Instead, this space is to be instantly seen, experienced and appreciated. It is a space for meeting, greeting, entertaining, socialising, relaxing and of course appreciating the amazing view across Newcastle. This visual link allows Hicksons to connect to the city in which they work in a not-so-subtle way!
As you progress through the remainder of the space, areas for meetings are created throughout, catering for a wide variety of meeting types, both formal and informal, planned and spontaneous. The main open plan workspace is carved out by curved banks of workstations creating smaller work communities and neighbourhoods. Adjoining offices double as quiet work pods, providing silent refuge from the bustling open workspace. Ancillary spaces such as print and copy areas, lockers and storage are strategically placed throughout to help break down spaces and create work zones.
The large hand-painted artwork mural that runs the length of this space connects closed and open rooms, delivering a creative way-finding tool and providing visual intrigue. It was important for Hicksons to engage with an artist that also understood their culture and the space in which it was positioned. He nailed it!
Whilst it might appear that no expense was spared, lawyers being lawyers still wanted to achieve good value for money in the finished result. A tight per square metre rate was provided at the beginning of the project and carried through into selection and construction of all elements, allowing us to work within practical financial constraints. Working collaboratively with the client, project manager and builder, this budget was respected and adhered to, to enable the client to make informed and value-based decisions on budget.
Sustainable and renewable building products and materials were considered for their longevity. Value based decisions were compared against quality and sustainable alternatives to allow the impact, both on the organisation and the greater community, to be as minimal as possible. A generous amount of existing furniture and equipment was re-used from their previous workplace saving on unnecessary waste and cost. SDA undertook a full audit of this at the commencement of the project and spaces were created with these in mind.