Axiom is an international law firm with over 3,000 employees with offices on three different continents representing ten countries. They recently established a presence in Canada with the opening of a new office in downtown Toronto. They did not, however, choose to locate in one of the gleaming Bay Street high rises typical of high profile Toronto law firms.
Rather they decided on a mid-twentieth century, former garment factory, post and beam building in the heart of the Entertainment District of Toronto. This decision is perhaps not surprising given that Axiom’s approach to the practice of law is somewhat divergent from the norm.
The new space has no partner offices because lawyers employed with the firm either work out of their client’s offices or remotely. The office could more aptly be described as a “communications hub”. There are several small meeting rooms, a large boardroom, workspaces for several support staff, as well as a reception area and lunch room/lounge area. Lawyers do meet in the space frequently.
Axiom’s innovative approach to the practice of law has in many respects spilled over into the design of the new office space. Transparency is a theme that is dominate in the new design. The entire office is visible. Natural light filters into all rooms. The design pairs “rustic” natural materials such as the old timber posts and beams with elegant materials such as the polished book-matched calacatta marble reception desk.
The furniture plays a key role in energizing and animating the space. Tom Dixon’s Flash Series tables and his iconic Beat Light interact with Patrick Norguet Kalm lounge chairs in the reception area. The white rectangular boardroom table designed by Figforty Metronome is accompanied by boardroom chairs by Hee Welling Hay. The inclusion of coloured resin panels suspended from the ceiling creates a sense of movement and three-dimensionally to the space.
There has been an effort to create a minimalist design that supports sustainable building practices. General lighting is provided by energy efficient T5 fluorescent fixtures and all specialty lighting is LED. An existing asphalt floor left over from the sewing factory days has been covered with sustainable Quebec white oak hardwood flooring.
The design solution has responded to Axiom’s request to create a modern, open and responsive work environment with an edge. The new office design is different from the usual top-tier law firm designs and Axiom likes the fact that they offer lawyers an alternative work environment that to date has proven to be very successful. In other words, Axiom has demonstrated that law firm design does not have to be “traditional” and “costly” to be successful.
Solid white oak wood floor with clear coat finish
Cera Gres porcelain tile – Off white hex matt finish
Stone Tile – Bianco Carrara Marble hex, polished finish
Caesar Stone – Quartz
G+P Millwork – Millwork Fabrication
Chrystal Marble & Tile – Calacatta Polished Marble
Herman Miller Collection – George Nelson Pendants w/ LED lamp
Phillips Jump (8’ linear LED pendant)
3Form – Suspended Art Installation
Herman Miller & Klaus by Nienkamper
Levey Industries – Dry Erase everWrite
Roberts Signs & Awnings – Company Logo
PC350 – Architectural glazed wall system w/ sliding doors. White finish
Stone Selex -Old Toronto thin brick veneer (White)
Trillium Architectural Products – Door Hardware