Aickin Chambers in Melbourne is hardly Google HQ, but with an interesting, artistic installation of wine-hued leather bound legal texts, the office is at once sincere and smart.
April 29th, 2016
Barristers’ chambers may typically be handsomely appointed, but as a profession steeped in strict tradition, they are rarely creatively or artistically designed. Imagined by Dan Cox of Melbourne’s Carr Design, Aickin Chambers is hardly Google HQ, but with an interesting, artistic installation of wine-hued leather bound legal texts, the office is at once sincere and smart.
Prior to the redeisgn by Carr, Aickin Chambers was poorly lit, with an unimaginative boardroom and inadequate acoustics. Reception was cold, unapproachable and confusing, and had to be manned by one of the barrister’s executive assistants, which was not a part of their role description.
The brief was to create a new public face and central hub that would reveal the chambers’ values of integrity, intelligence and innovation. Carr Design engaged in a deeply collaborative process with each of the 14 barristers.
Reception was reworked as an entirely virtual concept. A digital screen enables visitors to touch photographic faces of each of the barristers to let executive assistants know they have arrived. This area is then encircled by legal texts – an elegantly curated selection, some dating back to the 1880s. Books are artfully displayed in neat rows of mustard and mahogany along fine plated steel shelving.
“The chamber contained an extensive collection of legal texts, some over a century old. While we rationalised the collection, it was still considered a key tool of the chamber,” says Cox. “The colour and richness in materiality saw their inclusion as a key design statement. Positioned on arrival and contained within a bespoke steel bookcase, the unit was designed to be recessive to books it holds.”
The boardroom is an arresting, bright glass box inserted into the existing shell – a modern centrepiece, and a neat contrast of old and new set against the library installation. Switchable i-glass and LED light enables full privacy for the boardroom when required. At the flick of a switch the outside glass is turned off, signifying confidentiality and focus.
Rather than seeing a complete lack of natural light as a restriction, Carr completely redesigned the lighting scene. Reception is softly sincere, sophisticated and intimate, while an LED frame highlights boardroom activity.
“The traditional format of the chamber was challenged, while each barrister maintained their own private suite, the public spaces were reimagined,” adds Cox.
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