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Solicitors stand up on the job

Solicitors stand up on the job



Partners at Christchurch legal firm Rhodes & Co. are standing up on the job in their new post-earthquake offices designed by Context Architects. Celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, the firm has just moved into its new offices in the city’s emerging professional services quarter in Victoria Street. “Our new offices are a pleasure to occupy, and the move from temporary accommodation into a permanent home feels like a reflection of what’s starting to happen in Christchurch,” explains Rhodes & Co. partner George Forbes. “It’s a new beginning, and one with the opportunity to consider how design can improve how we work and the service we provide to clients.”

The new beginning also presented the chance to look at an open-plan office design, in contrast to the individual offices that the partners have enjoyed for the firm’s past 130-years. Given the demand for privacy and discretion in the legal business and the lively discussions that lawyers sometimes enjoy, Context Architects had a good design challenge on its hands. Context’s solution included bespoke unobtrusive screens that allow in light, but shield work areas and deflect noise. Specially commissioned and carefully positioned cabinetry provides further privacy and extensive storage options – both vital in a legal practice. And innovations like the sit-to-stand desks have had unexpected benefits: ‘Having the option to stand up on the job is great for our energy and concentration, especially when we’re working long hours to complete a client transaction,” said George Forbes.

“Context got what some of the other architects we approached initially didn’t – the wildly varying dynamics within a legal office of highly-concentrated and confidential work coupled with occasionally animated discussions. Context has come up with an open plan office design tailor made for lawyers. The look is right for who we are and is right for our client base; which includes first-time home buyers, high net worth individuals and corporates. We are delighted that at this stage of our 130-year association with the region, we’re part of the revitalisation that has the potential to create the best small city in the Southern Hemisphere,” concluded George Forbes.

“Working with such a venerable client was great. We enjoyed resolving their business challenges through a design that will help their people continue to perform and the business to grow,’ adds Context Architects’ South Island director Alisdair Daines.

Context provided a full service from advising on potential tenancies to space planning, designing the interior and managing construction.

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