Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons: London
Location: Watchmaker Court, Clerkenwell, London
Project Size: 19,160 sq ft (to accommodate 137 staff post-merger)
Programme: 12 weeks
Scope of Works: Workplace Consultancy > Office Design > Office Fit-out
The merger between the two legal practices, Blake Lapthorn and Tarlo Lyons, was a strategy to give the new combined firm a stronger presence in the London market. Both companies had offices in the Capital, however, the decision was taken to move the smaller Blake Lapthorn team over to the existing offices of Tarlo Lyons at Watchmaker Court in Clerkenwell which had spare capacity. The existing interior at Tarlo Lyons had become tired and dated and was partitioned off into small private offices which gave the space a very dark and enclosed feeling and denied the benefit of natural daylight to the support staff working in the centre of the building.
The design team at Claremont Group Interiors was instructed to carry out a feasibility study to explore the most effective way to re-plan and refurbish the building. The study highlighted that only a radical & total open plan environment would provide the increased level of accommodation and give adequate expansion space to increase the life of the building.
The real challenge was to create an open plan work space for an organisation whose Fee Earners had all previously enjoyed their own or a shared private office. In addition there was a large amount of client files which needed to be organised for each workstation.
The decision was made to adopt open plan workstations in clusters of four, with high screens dividing these into pods of two, each with a run of medium-high storage immediately behind them. To compensate for the total loss of cellular offices, each floor had two quiet rooms for a single occupant and a small meeting room for four. In addition, the potentially noisy print area was re-located to a separate room.
The client’s initial concerns regarding the new open plan were quickly dispelled. According to the Managing Partner, most people found the space works well and creates an improved overall atmosphere. On the whole, staff have found it easier to keep their workstations tidy and manage their files more efficiently.