Unispace's transformation of Orrick's workspace in downtown Los Angeles is a testament to the power of intentional innovative design and purpose-driven collaboration
A law firm come downtown oasis; Orrick’s new 26,000-square-foot office redefines the concept of a future workspace in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Unispace's goal was to create a space that not only supported Orrick's employees but also made a positive impact on the community. At 355 S Grand Avenue, this vision was brought to life by incorporating unique design elements, including Robert Vargas' mural and a curated gallery featuring local diverse artists.
To uniquely reflect Orrick’s culture of innovation, collaboration and inclusivity was the objective tasked to Unispace in the initial planning stages of the visioning of this forward-looking workspace. By the incorporation of art to boost community engagement and a partnership with the iconic LA-based artist Robert Vargas, this project is a study in an innovative approach to creating a transformational workplace model for the future.
Upturning tradition through their 'Art for Impact' (AFI) program, Unispace connected Orrick with Vargas, a local and renowned contemporary artist. Following a collaboration which aligned both parties, clear aims for the space were communicated and Vargas created a striking mural in Orrick's new office. This artwork is a tangible manifestation of the beating heart of the space, reflecting the firm's partnership with A New Way of Life (ANWOL), a nonprofit dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated individuals. Orrick has been actively supporting ANWOL's mission which provides housing, case management, pro-bono legal services, advocacy, and leadership development for formerly incarcerated women.
Extensive interviews were conducted with Orrick's attorneys and staff to develop a hybrid working solution tailored to their needs in a modern working model. Notably, this led to a reduced office footprint by approximately 60%, incorporating single-size offices, micro-offices, community work areas, and embracing a hoteling approach. The key focuses of the design were to create a physical showcase of the Orrick values and a celebration of collaboration, innovation, inclusion, and community involvement.
Chely Wright, Chief Diversity Officer at Unispace, emphasizes the intentional use of artwork reflected prominently throughout the space to promote inclusion as a primary design element, emphasizing this as a top line message to ensure everyone felt represented, with Robert Vargas' work celebrating the diverse population of downtown Los Angeles. Orrick's commitment to sustainability was reflected in the pursuit and realisation of LEED and WELL GOLD certifications. The office design adhered to universal design principles, offering equitable office sizes for all attorneys, and promoting accessibility through providing for wheelchair users, messaging through braille and consideration of natural light; a tangible manifestation of Orrick's dedication to becoming the most inclusive law firm in the industry.
The approach to Orrick’s office in Los Angeles was characterized by a partnership that extended from strategy development to construction. The design incorporated collaboration technology in every room, accessible spaces to meet a diverse set of employee needs, and the implementation of a thoughtful hoteling system. Despite challenges posed by supply chain disruptions and the pandemic, Unispace's delivery team completed the project within budget.
As part of the collaborative space, Spacestor worked with KBMH to supply their Palisades Grid as an aesthetic zone creation tool as well as the provision of storage in the base cupboards. In sleek black, the customizable space-creation grid integrates and enhances the overarching office design, as well as supporting the sustainability credibility of the space with a Red List Compliant Declare Label accreditation.
With the completion of this project, comes a new standard for law offices post-pandemic. It showcases Orrick's commitment to innovation, inclusion, and their CSR goals, by embracing unconventional design elements like Vargas' murals, a community engagement approach and inclusive facilities for their employees. A new benchmark for the legal industry, this space sends a clear message: to compete in the future, firms must align their workspace with their values and the community they are placed within to ensure talent attraction, engagement and retention in a world where employees are demanding flexible and equitable structures as well as placing the social and environmental values of the company of high importance when considering working for an organisation.
Unispace's transformation of Orrick's workspace in downtown Los Angeles is a testament to the power of intentional innovative design and purpose-driven collaboration. By infusing art, inclusivity, and sustainability into this project, Unispace and Orrick have created a workspace that not only reflects the future of work but also makes a positive impact on the community and raises the bar for legal firms around the world.