Agile Workspace for Top 20 Law Firm from Unispace


Unispace has completed the strategy, design and delivery for Hogan Lovells new office in Birmingham, a world class new workspace in one of the UK’s most dynamic office markets.

The 2,147 sq. m, project managed by specialist project managers Buro Four was completed by Unispace’s London studio for one of the world’s largest law firms as it expands its operations across the UK.


The final design is a key element in the pioneering, new project for Hogan Lovells to set out an open-plan template for its working environments and minimise the need for private office space.


Dale Woodcock, Regional Principal, Business Development at Unispace, said: “This project was a significant step in the evolution of the legal workplace – the move to a more agile environment which constantly evolves and expands in line with a growing team is a bold step.  Hogan Lovells’ growth in Birmingham has been rapid, and its new office needed to offer a degree of fluidity and provide organic space that could be tailored to demand.


“The Birmingham office was founded on the need to provide a workplace of excellence for the Hogan Lovells’ team and increase staff attraction and retention in the face of strong local competition. This is a workspace that changes the attitude of the business to the environment around it, imbuing it with agility and flexibility and all the positive outcomes that these qualities generate.”


The new workplace is an interchangeable open space, with a variety of different options that adapt to specific task requirements – modules can become an open plan space, a room to an office, to a phone room and a system of flexibility.


Collaboration spaces includes long benches, booths, putting green, table tennis table and phone rooms. There are also touch down workspaces, informal meeting areas and break out areas for socialising.


In the firm’s previous workspace there was an overreliance on cellular offices that provided a physical barrier to the integration of the workspace and inhibited information sharing.


“A crucial element of the legal workplace is understanding storage requirements– to become open plan you need to promote tidiness and give each worker enough space” explained Peggy Kan, Senior Designer, Unispace.


“A significant challenge was mitigating the buzz that an open plan design produces in a working environment with the need for privacy. The answer was a desk configuration where each lawyer gets their own storage, desk, chair, but they can still see everyone else working – this allows them to feel as though they’re in their own pod.”


The new workspace also must work hard to attract talent from a relatively constrained pool of potential employees with relevant expertise. Unispace introduced a comfortable and welcoming front of house area, collaborative spaces throughout, including “the Hive” and produced branding materials such as a global map to impress upon visitors the scale of the business.


The aesthetic for the project was driven by a requirement to portray the firm’s global identity, as a global top 20, professional law firm. With the look and feel, the Unispace team wanted to create a palette which was comfortable and relatable, to portray an element of elegance and sophistication, and link to the global identity within the reception space.


Michael Gallimore, Partner & Head of Birmingham at Hogan Lovells, said:


“Birmingham is an active and vibrant community and we are proud to be a part of it. We are investing in and supporting the city, both through providing credible and attractive career opportunities and also through our citizenship and pro bono activities.


“The new workplace in Birmingham will act as a significant draw for both clients and staff alike as Hogan Lovells expands in a vibrant and confident market. The legal workplace has trodden a familiar path for a long-time and the new office provided an opportunity to re-think the way our teams work.”


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BDC 314 : Mar 2024