In late 2017, we were contacted to oversee the complete renovation of the offices of Mas y Calvet, a prestigious law firm located in the Salamanca district of Madrid.
The offices are located on the main and second floors of a manor house in Calle Ortega y Gasset. With direct access from the hallway, they occupy an area exceeding 400 m2 spread across two floors connected by an interior staircase.
Since the firm was founded in 1954, the offices had never been renovated. Originally designed in the classical style of the era, the offices had aged over time, giving rise to complex spaces and circulations, makeshift, outdated furniture and finishes, and obsolete facilities. These inadequacies made it necessary to carry out a full renovation.
With the only condition imposed by the owners being to preserve the interior wooden staircase as a mark of distinction and tradition, along with two meeting rooms, one of which had recently been renovated, we began to work to rearrange the space and modernise the style, without sacrificing the sense of elegance and grandeur suggested by the entrance hall and staircase.
The first step was to work with the client to produce a brief setting out the objectives of the intervention in terms of the functioning of the offices, their spatial organisation and the needs of the staff.
Using this information, we developed a design which organised the offices spatially according to the function of each area: reception, meeting rooms, workspaces and a services and rest area.
A spatial and temporal reorganisation
Given that the offices date back to the middle of the last century, the new layout was not only to reflect practical considerations relating to contemporary working practices, but also to fulfil the technological and social needs of a law firm in 2018, giving rise to new requirements.
One of our main concerns was to position the various rooms in accordance with their use in order to facilitate circulation around the offices, so we decided to locate the reception in a foyer area at the entrance. We grouped the meeting rooms together in the more public part of the space and added a rest area and waiting room, as well as a new room equipped for videoconferencing.
The rest area was designed as a multi-purpose space. Located in the open-plan area and featuring a more informal design, with soundproofing via absorbent panelling and acoustic ceiling islands, it’s now the perfect place to have a coffee and a chat or hold a group meeting. Near the offices and bathrooms, it provides a link between work and social interaction at Mas y Calvet.
The workspaces are located at the back of the building and comprise both open-plan areas and individual offices as established in the early stages of the project. The decision to glaze the offices allowed us to harness the natural light from the interior courtyard, making the rooms much more spacious. Special soundproofing was installed on the ceilings and carpets were fitted.
Using the very best materials
The project is characterised by the use of high quality, elegant and functional materials. The reception desk, made from walnut wood and covered with velvet fabric, divided by narrow lines of brass tape, welcomes visitors to a modern, elegant office. Topped by a black porcelain surface inspired by natural stone, the reception desk is one of the most striking items of furniture.
The velvet fabric and walnut wood on the desk are key elements in a decorative theme recurring throughout the firm, appearing on floor-to-ceiling panelled doors. Brass is also present on door handles and in the firm’s elegant logo.
An additional series of natural-coloured eucalyptus doors and panels were introduced in the workspace, accompanied by porcelain panels imitating polished black marble. Glass was incorporated into the doors in order to take advantage of the natural light while maintaining the aesthetic theme. With regard to the flooring, we restored the original herringbone wood floor in the entrance.
An interplay of light
In our design, we focused on ensuring that each space had the ideal lighting: in the corridors and rest area, most of the lights were hidden for greater comfort, while in the workspace we chose linear suspended lights for direct illumination. We also lit up a painting in the reception, which we selected ourselves, to showcase the artwork.
We renovated the entire main floor, measuring approximately 300 m2, fulfilling our commitment to the client to complete the construction work and install all furniture and fittings in a period of just three months. In summer 2019, we will complete the second part of the project: the remaining 150 m2 on the first floor.