The recent fitout of DLA Piper’s Auckland office takes inspiration from Auckland as a flowing city, incorporating themes from nature around us. Guest contributor and Senior Designer with JASMAX, Valentina Machina, discusses the design process.

DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries around the globe. We wanted the design to enhance the strong collaborative and inclusive culture that is present in the DLA Piper purpose and values. The over‐arching aspirational objective of all DLA Piper offices is to be recognizably part of the global brand, providing a similar experience regardless location.

Our design narrative started with looking at the geological location of the Auckland office, bringing a theme of Auckland as flowing city. It was important to reference the local environment without being overtly themed. We referenced the rich Auckland landscape and flora in the undulating ceiling and abstract geometrical reference to the fern canopy. The softness of curved walls and the richness of the timber elements counterbalance the hardness and the angularity of the building architecture.

The palette deliberately includes links to DLA Piper’s global offices and their design aesthetic, whilst also highlighting the site and regional context, unmistakably communicating that this is DLA Piper Auckland.

“The feature Solid Surface by Laminex wall, characteristic of all DLA Piper offices, visually connects the Auckland office.”

Valentina Machina, Senior Designer and Associate Principal, JASMAX
Feature wall: solid surface by Laminex

Drawing inspiration from the New Zealand native fern, we’ve used the fern’s subtle repetitive form in an abstract pattern across the feature wall. The fern has been represented by a series of routed lines at different depths, creating a pattern across the 19 Solid Surface panels. Each panel is separated by a thin timber inlay ‐ depicting the fern branch itself. Backlit, the feature wall explores texture and light, offering an inviting welcome into the DLA Piper office.

Another key design element was the intertenancy stair. Drawing upon the local context of Auckland as a flowing city, the stairs form is an abstract representation of water and lava flows. Its organic form differentiates it from the gridded, structured building it sits within, just as our shorelines and mountainous volcanoes are a relief from the structured city. A smooth white finish using Solid Surface by Laminex allows light and shadow to accentuate the form, leaving it timeless and elegant.

Staircase: Solid surface by Laminex
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JASMAX Senior Designer and Associate Principal Valentina Machina
Photography by Samuel Hartnett