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Webber Wentzel

Brief

“Create a cellular driven space consolidating three separate offices”

 

The relocation of approximately 670 staff, including 460 professionals, at one of South Africa’s leading law firms from their previous Fricker Road, Illovo, headquarters to their new address in Sandton.

Location

90 Rivonia Road, Sandton

Duration

Three years, over two phases:

– A six-month full assessment with information gathering which formed part of the brief sent to developers
– Two and a half year planning and design project

Completion

February 2016

Specifications

Cellular driven space consolidating three separate offices and catering for about 890 staff across two blocks fluidly connected by a light and airy central atrium.

The building spans 35 000 square metres, with Webber Wentzel taking up 25 000 square metres of the space.

What we did

“Warm yet clean and contemporary designed offices to accommodate 890 staff across two blocks connected by a light and airy central atrium”

 

Long before the Sandton site was selected, we were tasked with ensuring that the firm’s particular space needs and wish list for its new home was carefully and seamlessly executed.

 

Working closely with GLH Architects on block and stack arrangements for the building and the modularity of the office spaces, we looked at how to plan and optimize the space efficiently around the building footprint.

 

With an imposing travertine cladded wall forming the backdrop to the expansive reception counter, visitors are directed to either various waiting areas, one of the many boardrooms or the business centre, featuring a hot desk arrangement, discreetly located on the other side of the reception wall.

 

Flowing beyond the reception bank, the atrium, which also houses a coffee bar, is awash with natural light radiating down from the striking circular skylights above.

 

A soft, fresh palette of navy, duck-egg and teal contrasts with plush brown leathers and textured fabrics to enhance the contemporary feel of the space which is further emphasized by custom-made circular Duco coffee tables with white backlit glass tops.

 

The abstract patterned rugs were also customized for the space and especially imported.

 

Warmth permeates through the use of American walnut timber cladding, contrasted with white Duco and stone elements which enhance the contemporary clean design style.

 

Meanwhile vertical slats create a distinctive design element, carrying across from the ground floor onto the pause area balconies on each of the following six floors of the building.

 

Spilling off the atrium, the ground floor houses client interface spaces of which there are 45 boardrooms of various sizes (equipped with video conferencing, audio visual or projection capabilities), two state-of-the-art conferences facilities (each catering to up to 200 people) and a smaller multifunctional space.

 

Moving further up the building, the next two floors are dedicated to support staff services while the legal practice groups are houses in the following four floors.

 

Here, the space planning needs of the company informed the customized furniture, also in walnut or paler timbers, featured in both the open plan shared office space and the cellular or single offices on the floors.

 

It was important for the building to provide staff with a welcoming environment encouraging interactivity and this is exemplified on the building’s top floor, which houses the firm’s library, wellness centre and gym, training facilities and expansive dining areas.

 

At the library, which is equipped with self-service work areas, dedicated librarians are on hand to assist with research while the two dining areas lead out onto terraces featuring pergolas and planters – the perfect vantage point to take in the breathtaking Sandton skyline.