Design Excellence Awards

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Small Corporate Design Excellence Award
Presented to Gensler
Akin Gump
Austin, Texas

Project Description

Akin Gump, a global law firm, was looking to solidify their brand with a new Austin office while further establishing their legal practice areas. The team was tasked with delivering a place that exuded the firm’s timeless brand, but also reflected the local vibe of the magnificent city of Austin. This sense of place would allow the firm’s Austin team to interact as a family in an environment that was transparent, approachable and tranquil, while still connected with the cityscape around them.

This smaller Austin location accommodates 20, close-working team members, proving the importance of attention to detail in the space. They also highlighted the need for camaraderie, recruitment, open culture and well-being as critical facets of a successful design.

Akin Gump is a very intimate space, yet still feels spacious and open due to the visual access across the entire length of the office. Efficient planning resulted in a sense of order. Varied transparencies in the design elements and details provided a sense of layering and depth. Each feature from the ceiling, to the patterned screen, to the furniture and finishes was calibrated to complement one another, working together to achieve airiness and counter-balance spatial proximity.

The idea of quiet veiling was accomplished through the embedded architectural features to provide spatial definition at a varied scale. This is observed from the reception glass panels, the wood screen at the reception seating, the formed reception desk steel panel and the wood slat ceiling plane. All of these design elements together harmoniously evoke a sense of lightness and visual interest.

Harvesting natural lighting was an important design feature for this intimate office. Full-height glass fronts allow access to views of downtown and full light saturation through to the work areas. Each workstation and office were provided with sit-stand desks to increase workplace ergonomic benefits to productivity in the work area. The design resulted in an intimate setting that celebrates light, craft and the firm’s relaxed energy where communication is celebrated and spatial hierarchy diminished. Both, users and visitors, are embraced by clarity and warmth that far exceeds the notion of a traditional law firm.