April 2017 MIAMI—From a design perspective, traditional law firm office space has often been described as a conservative environment. There’s been little, if any, focus on amenities or other designated common or shared workspace areas.
So says David Chason, a partner at AEI US Studio. The Miami-based company recently opened its first US office. Over the past 22 years, the firm has built a reputation for innovations that defy convention.
The firm’s latest innovation is what Chason calls the “hometainment” model. The design platform is gaining attention and adoption in Latin America. AEI is bringing the concept stateside with a specific application to law firms.
“The ‘hometainment’ concept was born through the intricate combination of home qualities and applicable entertainment features that can be incorporated into law firm office space,” Chason tells GlobeSt.com. “This state-of-the-art model speaks to a stronger understanding of modern co-culture, and thus, is brought to life throughout the entire workspace. This fosters collaborative work areas, increased social interactions and overall improved engagement among law firm attorneys—all with the goal of enhancing productivity and company culture.”
AEI U.S. Studio has created numerous designs for global law firm Holland & Knight, with the ‘hometainment’ model in several offices. As Chason explains it, the goal is to create a space in constant use throughout the day, with no wasted square footage to be found.
“What makes the Holland & Knight’s spaces truly forward-thinking design is the use of entire floors of attorney and lobbyist offices pulled in from the interior perimeter, smaller in size than typical associate offices, and surrounded mostly by glass,” Chason says. “All offices were reviewed for optimal sight-lines, with nearly every space and workstation maintaining a clear outside view. This is a sharp contrast to traditional office space often described as ‘enclosed,’ with many interior offices, some without any exterior exposure.”
Next, he continues, the entire perimeter was designed to mimic neighborhoods with varying “themed” elements. This included traditional English library areas complete with Chesterfield tufted sofas, high-back wing chairs and ottomans. A Mos Eisley Cantina from the original Star Wars movie boasted wii home video games, a foosball table and a pool table, while meeting rooms were configured more like a home den than typical conference rooms.
Aiming to add a level of comfort for attorneys, AEI U.S. Studio established a more relaxed view of the office—or “home-like” environment, where law firm team members felt comfortable at all times. In the outdoor terrace, picnic tables were set on faux grass turf, with bar-height communal-type tables situated with plug-in capabilities.
By Jennifer Leclaire