Biophilia, movement, and organic materials all serve to elevate Buchalter’s black & white corporate standard, bridging the PNW aesthetic with a modernized professional office. The law firm’s Portland office design is inspired by innate patterns of nature: wood tones bring warmth, sumptuous textiles and fabrics mimic trees peeking through fog, and cove lighting encircles the charcoal grey recessed ceiling of a seating area, representing a storm cloud with a silver lining, all giving the impression of being outside. The conference room carpet has the appearance of a dry riverbed, implying water’s influence over time, while green accents reflect the vibrancy of living plants.
Doing away with notions of “front of house” and “back of house,” Buchalter Fox Tower reimagines how a law firm thrives. Investing money in all aspects of the office - not just typically client-facing spaces - enables an elevated, equitable experience for all. An inclusive approach to window access allows all personnel and clientele to enjoy light from large windows throughout the building.
One of the most innovative features of the project is the invitation to transform the main hallway. Retractable glass walls open the office spaces and encourage multiple uses of the area. A dramatic flooring transition, from carpet to plank tiling, further emphasizes the openness of the space.
The client hospitality center doubles as the employee break room, maximizing the office’s footprint and allowing for flexible workspaces. Staff and clients alike can enjoy lounge seating by the window library, a break room bar, and an entertainment space. Warm, reflective gold details against dramatic black walls interact with abundant natural daylight and subtly placed light fixtures, amplifying ambient luminosity. Textured glass shelves also play with the room’s light, enhancing the theme and encouraging interactivity with break room amenities.
Tactile details like texture and movement are a direct response to the pandemic. After three years of being afraid to touch and interact with objects and others, there is a desire to surround ourselves with lush textiles, smooth or varied surfaces, as an implied appeal to rejoin life in all ways.