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Around The Firms
28 July, 2008  
Deacons goes silver, red, yellow and green

Wayne Swan launched Deacons’ gleaming crystal office space in Sydney. Kate Gibbs was also there, mingling with the clients and scoffing scallops and champers. Blackout in the bathrooms leads the way in reducing the size of the firm’s carbon footprint

The new Deacons’ refurb in Sydney is like “living in an iPod”, according to Nick Abrahams, chairman of the Sydney office.

A client thought it’s: “the sort of law firm Captain Kirk from Star Trek would run.”

Abrahams said that this was not exactly the design brief for the complete overhaul of the new offices in Grosvenor Place on George Street.

The firm’s top clients, partners and a selection of lawyers and communications people schmoozed in the Deacons’ new-look reception zone on Wednesday (July 23) for the ribbon cutting.

The sipping of chambers and nibbling of Asian-style scallops, oysters and rare beef canapés, was momentarily interrupted when federal Treasurer Wayne Swan climbed to his feet to declare the sleekness open.

After making everyone anxious with a speech about the economy, Swanny asked if there was anything he could smash to officially launch the office.

The Sydney branch of the global enterprise actually moved earlier this year from older floor space at Goldfields House at Circular Quay.

imageThe Grosvenor Place lease was signed in 2006 for 10,000 square metres. Blake Dawson is only floors apart.

Abrahams (right, seen here with Deacons’ Don Boyd and Swan) said that the brief required the designers to reflect a culture of inclusiveness and openness. Hence the glass walled offices, everywhere.

“We have reached an extraordinary compromise in terms of the glassiness of the fit-out. So you get the benefits of open communication… Indeed you can’t hide, which is a good thing because lawyers sometimes like to shut the wood-panelled door and get on with things. And that is not what the modern law firms is about. The glassiness also means the natural light and tremendous views we have here are shared, and are not just the exclusive province of those by the windows.”

Each floor is colour coded. Clients and reception are on the slick silver-grey floor, with partners and lawyers tiered between between red, green and yellow levels.

How does that work? Red for the cut throat M & A types, green for the environmental people, and yellow for …

No one was able to confirm this division of colour hued labour.

Abrahams talked-up Deacons’ assault on its carbon footprint.

For instance, the firm is cutting emissions by having the lights off in the bathrooms.

Only by entering the darkened space will sensors click into action and the lights flicker on.

The same during the weekends for the office space. Partners say the lights switch off several times and they have to fling their arms around before the sensors know that they’re still in the room.

There’s also lots of “smart printing” and carbon neutral furniture.

The Carr Design Group scooped the pool this month in the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards for its work on Deacons’ offices.