Law Firm | NEW YORK, NY | 30,000 sf | 2007

Establishing a presence for the first time in New York, law firm Crowell & Moring LLP looked to SKB for help. Taking on the challenge of working with a previously used space and a short term lease, Crowell & Moring was interested in adapting the existing perimeter offices and workstations while focusing efforts on the complete renovation of the existing reception and conferencing areas. The integration of the new and the old was vital to a successful and comfortable design.

The “branding” established at the firm’s headquarters in Washington, DC would be critical in the design quality and aesthetics of this new office. The program for the area was a new elevator lobby with presence, a reception desk and waiting area, two large conference rooms (one with exterior views and the other with interior views), a small law library, computer touch down station for visitors, a mail room, and catering pantry facilities. SKB’s architectural solution was to use floor and ceiling planes to help define the sequence of space by developing a connection between the elevator vestibule and the reception area. Glass, curly maple, and drywall partitions provided a sense of layered transparency that pulls the outside inward. A very low floating walnut shelf in the elevator lobby/gallery is a whimsical surprise and a subtle directive for visitors entering off the elevator. The shelf motions toward a similar perpendicular walnut plank that floats in front of the reception desk. The lighting design aimed to create a sense of movement within the space with fixtures only becoming visible when demanded by the design. The furnishings selected for the reception area and conference rooms reinforce the space’s modern vocabulary. In the waiting area, a contemporary leather and dark mahogany sofa and chair project a forward thinking style. Classic Saarinen tulip tables and a glass/steel coffee table by Poul Kjaerholm seem to float in space. The furniture in the conference rooms, classic leather Oxford chairs by Arne Jacobsen, maple tables and maple credenzas, was chosen for comfort and reinforcement of the color palette. The pattern of wide horizontal bands of opaque film applied to the clear conference room glass further accentuates the intersection of planes. The end result fulfills Crowell & Moring’s request to communicate their dedication to the city and their local clients by giving the impression they have longer than a three-year lease term.