70 interiors+sources september2017 interiorsandsources.com
By Robert Nieminen | Photography by studio MAHA
By Ware Malcomb
The interior design of law firms typically evokes images of heavy wood paneling, solid mahogany, or oak furniture and dark motifs that scream “conservative” or “traditional”—and for good reason. The current model for law-firm design has been around for nearly a century and is
grounded in the notions that legal work is individual, and that the private office is a symbol of status
and success, according to a study by Gensler.
But the legal field isn’t insulated from the new workplace paradigm that has emerged as a result of
improved technology, evolving work methodologies, and a younger workforce unencumbered by old-school thinking and with vastly different expectations than its predecessors. So, what if the outdated
law-firm prototype were flipped on its head to embrace the existing trend toward highly open, collaborative
spaces while still respecting the often-sensitive nature of legal practice? What would it look like?
One notable example is the offices of Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach (NoonanLance) in downtown
San Diego, designed by award-winning international design firm Ware Malcomb. NoonanLance’s new
space combines the core needs of a law office with more progressive, creative workplace elements to
create a unique environment that breaks from the industry standard.
“NoonanLance’s previous space in San Diego’s DiamondView Tower was characteristic of the traditional
Millwork in the lounge areas was
surfaced with durable, yet affordable,
plastic laminate from Lab Designs.
The open office circulation areas feature Gotham’s 4-inch
Incito Cylinder light, which offers dynamic control of light
levels that can minimize glare and increase visual comfort.
The entry and reception area features the mid-century-inspired Stryde Lounge Chair, designed by Michael
Wolk, lending a clean, modern feel to the space.
Wilsonart was chosen for the shelving in
the lounge area which coordinates with
millwork for a unified appearance.
The SoCo Pendant, featuring customizable
sockets and cords, is used in open work-station areas and adds to the industrial
look of the space.