International legal practice Seyfarth Shaw is known for its unpretentious, welcoming culture—characteristics that Gensler made sure to instill in the law firm's nine-level, 300,000-square-foot Chicago headquarters. Design director and principal Todd Baisch did opt for a somewhat corporate aesthetic in the office areas, 15 conference rooms, café, and other communal spaces. However, he explains, "We used a color palette, textures, and artwork that one might expect in a residence." In the inviting reception area, the desk is built largely of a tropical hardwood and marble, the wall behind is paneled in sienna-red MDF, wool rugs bring softness to the eucalyptus floor, and seating is upholstered in earth-tone cotton-nylon blends, suede, and leather.
The firm's five practice floors are reached via lounges, encouraging interaction between attorneys. And each practice got to choose its lounge's finishes and furniture. The litigation group preferred dining tables and chairs, while the labor group's relaxed "living room" features mobile club chairs equipped with tablet tables.
All the offices and conference rooms are glass-fronted. Further supporting equality, Gensler made the 330 attorneys' offices virtually the same size, 175 to 180 square feet. That goes for the partners, too.