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Maddocks is a highly regarded Top 20 law firm providing premium legal services that add exceptional value to its clients’ businesses. In a collaborative project, Maddocks engaged HASSELL to develop a new design to reinvent their Melbourne office. As an international architectural design practice with an enviable reputation spanning 70 years and over 650 awards, HASSELL was ranked number one in Australasia in the 2012 BD World Architecture Top 100.

When it came to door hardware for Maddocks, Designer Doorware had the specialist design and manufacturing capabilities that were crucial to bring HASSELL’s design vision to life and provide other high quality, contemporary doorware and accessories.

Sliding door handles - Custom-made, signature 'HASSELL Block' handle
Cabinet handles - Custom-made
Entrance door handles - Neo and Quad pull handles
Door handles - Quad levers on narrow plates

Project Brief
With a reputation founded on integrity and innovation, Maddock’s use of leading-edge technology and progressive work practices creates a point of difference for clients and staff alike. The firm maintains a strong alliance with the arts, and is known as an award-winning equal opportunity employer. This array of corporate drivers formed the basis of their brief to HASSELL - to reinvent traditional notions of legal environments within their Melbourne offices, giving new meaning to the way staff and clients experience a corporate legal space.

Response to the Brief
Through a series of facilitated workshops, the HASSELL design team, in association with strategic consultants DEGW, led Maddocks management and staff into a design process that was seen as an opportunity to embody the inward and outward motivators of the practice into a set of key design principles. Supporting diversity, increasing interaction and balancing both the needs of the individual and the collective were recurring themes within the brief, and became the fundamental ideals of the new design.

The design team then created a logical structure for encouraging circulation, avoiding compartmentalisation, and favouring collaborative spaces. The result was a domestic and diverse personality that maintained the crispness and coherence that one expects of a legal office.

The resulting interior utilises a central, transparent stair to create a vertical corridor, intertwining through the floors. Using the stair as a central anchor, the space acts as a social highway for staff to interact and observe each other at work. Individually designed yet open plan work spaces are connected to each other so that the whole is a seamless sum of discrete parts over six floors.

The key workplace initiative was the introduction of partially open plan legal environments and predominantly full height glass sliding panelled offices. This pursuit of visual connection and access to partners was seen as paramount to the nurturing and mentoring of junior lawyers to create an inclusive learning workplace. The transparency throughout the space ensures that lawyers at work remain connected to clients and colleagues.

Two main zones were created to provide pause for staff and clients alike, as sites from which observation or interaction could occur. On level six, the formal reception area and formal client meeting zone provide the corporate ‘face’ of Maddocks. As one moves vertically up the building, the spaces become less formal, culminating in the central hub on level eight. The hub combines the knowledge centre (library), training suite, social café and lounge, an area that has become the heart of the practice.

As an integral layer to the fit out, and as a driver of social connection, a sophisticated graphic design and art agenda was implemented throughout the space. This creative overlay provided a visual mnemonic, which reinforces the outward and contemporary philosophy of the practice, while enhancing the domestic scale and accessibility of the offices for both staff and clients.

Energy efficiency and minimisation, recycled and recyclable materials, product stewardship and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions were all considerations in the design and choice of materials and finishes. The result is a workplace that meets ecological objectives while providing a healthy, sustainable environment for its occupants.

Architectural Door Hardware Solution
The addition of custom made joinery and entrance pull handles from Designer Doorware enhanced the individuality of Maddock's new office. The “HASSELL Block” as it is known was designed by HASSELL and engineered by Designer Doorware’s design and manufacturing team.

The smooth, solid stainless steel pull handle is crafted from stainless bar stock, with a hidden groove underneath for grip. This combination of minimalist form and function, not only fit the design theme for Maddocks new interior, but was cohesive to the other Designer Doorware products chosen, including the Quad lever on narrow plate and Quad pull handle.

The Neo entrance pull handle with cut-out grip is a signature item for Designer Doorware, and its origins are with HASSELL. Upon entry, the simple pull handle with offset cut-out establishes the theme for the remainder of the building. Made from solid stainless steel and finished in satin, it is a discreet and highly functional handle of timeless quality.