Smart offices need stylish furnishings

WHEN you have prestigious offices, you need an aesthetic to match. International law firm McDermott Will & Emery, which has offices in the stylish Heron Tower – the tallest tower in London at one point – were looking for an exceptional fit-out when they moved into the building last year. It was the first occupier to move into the office block, so it wanted to make an impact with something that was visually stunning.

The law firm appointed market-leading furniture designer K+N International to supply the furniture. There aren’t many companies that could have handled the specific requests of the law firm – for example, one of the requirements was to have a furniture system that ensured that the acoustics in the office were just right.

McDermott ended up choosing the RX Workwall partitioning system (pictured, right), which helped to achieve the desired aesthetic, as well as offering the flexibility of being able to be demounted and moved easily. The result was a fit-out that was efficient as it did not take very long to install.

K+N’s head of strategic business Neil Morris said that “from the discussions with the client, it was clear that this would be a hugely demanding project if we were to deliver the required solution on time and on budget”. One of the challenges was that construction of the building was due to complete at around the same time as the levels were due to be fitted out. Morris said “this meant that we had a huge number of logistical problems to overcome with deliveries, offloads and even gaining access to the site”.

Another reason why K+N International was appointed is because the law firm liked the company’s manufacturing culture, which it felt was “holistic”. By taking care of the manufacturing and supplying, as well as the fit-out, K+N had greater control over the project. This helped keep costs to budget, while ensuring that the project was not compromised in critical areas.

Morris thinks that the “one-stop-shop solution” that K+N offered was a key reason for the project’s success. He says that the “McDermott project reflects these benefits. Not only could we work in a consultative manner with the client to tailor the solution to fit both the design brief and the budget, the fact that all products are manufactured under one roof and delivered directly to site from our factory in Frankfurt ensured that we had complete control over the entire process and could co-ordinate the installation accordingly”.

William Reilly – practice director of McDermott – thinks that the end result is striking. The “high performance workspace” is “representative of a modern day, ‘future proof’ legal office environment,” he says.

Not only was the project delivered to plan, the staff at McDermott can now enjoy the striking views of London from the comfort of their stylish offices.

The K+N Horizonte “RX” workwall partitioning system achieved aesthetic quality and functionality of the design brief, while also delivering acoustic performance demanded by McDermott – this removed the need for dry wall partitions between offices, dramatically reducing the fit out cost.


■ Client: McDermott Will & Emery
■ Size: 25,000 sq ft
■ Location: Heron Tower, London
■ Main contractor: Skanska
■ Architect: KKS Strategy
■ Project Manager: Arcademy
■ Partitioning: Horizonte RX and Slimline
■ Furniture: Do-It 4, Acta Plus