Russell McVeagh

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  • 2018

  • Architectural Design
    Interior Design

Designed By:

  • Warren and Mahoney Architects

Commissioned By:

Russell McVeagh

Designed In:

New Zealand

Russell McVeagh is a future-ready workplace for the ‘Aspiring Lawyer’. The workspace is agile, and of a discerning design quality intent on attracting and retaining the brightest legal minds in New Zealand. The space is anchored by a bold, curated social hub underpinning wellbeing at the heart of the project.


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  • The brief was to provide a facility that would challenge legal tradition by offering a future-focussed workplace for the new wave of lawyers entering the market. In a bold decision, Partner offices were foregone for a more democratic, open and agile operation. Although this strategy was agreed early in the discussions it carried its usual rhetoric of its failings; disruption, noise and risk of limited technological agility. In response, Russell McVeagh tested and adopted the latest technologies to enable seamless connectivity over WiFi - a huge factor in the success of open plan design.

  • In a democratically conceived workspace the design outcome supports the legal practice’s desire to be proactive in agile ways of working. A balanced, open plan arrangement with ample quiet rooms and video conference suites enables all employees to move freely with digital devices in the environment. There is no hierarchy, as all employees, legal or support, are offered 360-degree views of Auckland Harbour, sit-to-stand workstations, and access to premium hospitality in the social heart. A generously appointed hub over two storeys anchors the workspace offering a place for the teams to come together collaboratively or in a tailored focus space.

  • Wellbeing is at the heart of Russell McVeagh’s future work strategy, ensuring the health of legal staff is supported by the environment. Access to natural light and views are available to all. Planting, sit-to-stand work points and alternate work settings along the building perimeter offer choice and the ability to move freely. The central hub is pivotal in supporting the work floors. It is a premium social space, equal to the amenity afforded to clients, and it is where the people come together ensuring that the business is better connected than ever.

  • The ‘Aspiring Lawyer’ concept is designed to challenge the conventional approach to legal workplace design. We wanted to create a workspace which referenced the hallmarks of traditional legal spaces and paired them with radical futuristic moves. Reeded glass achieves visual privacy whilst retaining a nod to yesteryear. Where there once was mahogany desks and offices, there is now Douglas fir and open vistas. Fluidity to the open planning of the space is achieved by introducing sweeping curves and soft, tactile pods to break up the rigour of the floorplates. A bright, light palette in the workspace provides a spaciousness with small villages of open plan teams adjacent to fluid, soft forms which create their home base environment. At the centre is a social hub with a sculptural stair, a space designed to attract all of its inhabitants to refresh, collaborate and celebrate their achievements; a truly democratic use of the best views in the building, 27-storeys high overlooking the Waitemata. The hub material palette is discerning, combining hand polished brass in the kitchen with Chevron laid stone for the high-end feel whilst using the humble Douglas Fir with a Lye coat to elevate it to something beautiful.