New Office Design Encourages Collaboration

Law firm Ashford & Wriston lives by its three Rs: responsive, respectful and resourceful. Recently, the firm took all three into account when it redesigned its interior workspace. The company has been in this space in First Hawaiian Center since October, and it recently unveiled the renovations.

“Our firm has an extensive art collection,” says partner Kevin Herring. “It served as an inspiration for us to think outside the box.”

The main goal of the firm’s new look was to create an aesthetically pleasing environment that also is efficient. So they employed the help of Shawn Rush of Workplaceworks, a cutting-edge interior architecture firm.

“What I loved about meeting Kevin and his team was that they were really interested in breaking with precedent,” says Rush. “They were really challenging themselves and ready for change.”

The space is laid out in a way that is intended to encourage collaboration. One central feature of the design is a red wall at the entrance. The custom art piece was done in the style of chop, a colloquial term for an East Asian seal.

“The chop has deep roots in Hawaii, like our firm,” explains Herring. “It is a symbol that’s more than a guarantee. It was your word that everything was correct and of the highest integrity and quality.”

According to Herring, they designed with the future in mind and have many spaces that are multi-purpose and adaptable.

“We can change the function of the spaces depending on the needs of our clients and the teams we’re working with,” he says. “We recognize that people work differently than they did 10 or 20 years ago.

“Before, the firm was organized around being paper-focused, and we had lots of space for paper files and books. We became more people-focused, and those spaces can be occupied by people to exchange ideas.”

The space also utilizes natural light. (A number of attorneys at Ashford & Wriston are LEED-accredited professionals.)

“It set a framework in place to encourage folks to design buildings that are environmentally friendly and good for people to work in — a healthy workspace,” explains Herring. “We wanted to make it a bright, energizing environment.”

To bring in more natural light, Rush installed glass windows in attorneys’ offices.

“Ashford & Wriston is really leading by example,” Rush states. “They are one of the most efficient law firms in all of Hawaii in how they use their real estate.”

“The practice of law and how attorneys practice is different now,” she continues. “You don’t have a great number of single practitioners, you have a more team-based approach.”

In their new office, Ashford & Wriston employees notice the environment and feel of the workspace lends itself to that type of engagement.

“We can interact with other team members on a regular basis,” says Herring. “Every morning, I’m so grateful to be able to work in an office that looks like this and feels like this.”