Fenwick & West
After a long building search, Fenwick & West selected New York's historic Chelsea neighborhood, affectionally known as Silicon Alley, to be close to its technology-focused clientele. The four-decade-old law firm desired a new workplace that would reflect its vibrant, entrepreneurial culture and have a strong sense of place. The design team was challenged to repurpose the formal and austere former offices of a media company for a new use. The resulting design concept "brings the outside in" by paying homage to the natural environment of nearby open spaces and urban parks.
Instead of a conventional law firm lobby, elevators open directly into a multi-functional collaboration space, and adjacent stairway which acts as a vertical main street. Carpet planks in shades of grey and green evoke the Highline's blend of concrete walkways and untamed plants, and are used to activate a central meeting area with movable furnishings. A tree-like canopy of felt acoustical clouds surrounds a flexible stadium seating arrangement reminiscent of grassy mounds found in a New York park. The space dynamically adapts to user needs, providing meeting spaces, alternate workplaces, and event space. The floor pattern on the outer edge guides employees to a choice of quieter areas including work pods, small meeting rooms, and enclosed offices for heads-down work.
A key design challenge was repurposing existing furniture, lighting, and building systems to support the more open and collaborative workstyle of Fenwick's employees. Inherited furniture from private offices was brought into open areas, reconfigured, and retrofitted with height-adjustable surfaces to boost employee wellness. A nearly 100% reuse rate of these elements contributed to meeting the project’s sustainability goals while providing employees with a variety of work settings.
Client Fenwick & West LLP
Location San Francisco and Mountain View, CA
Scope Strategic Planning and Programming
Size 234,000 square feet
Credits Photography by Anthony Lindsey