For the past 12 months Three Hundred & Sixty Degrees has been working closely with Smith Partnership Solicitors’ Head Office and their landlords MCR to develop an entirely different workspace in Norman House, Friar Gate Derby.
This unusual space had stood empty and unloved for the last 5 years, but when Smith Partnership commenced their quest for a new office, after being at Celtic House for nearly 2 decades, it was one of the options put forward. It didn’t feel like a ‘normal’ office and Smith Partnership were not sure whether it would work, so MCR called on 360 to assist. After lots of discussions between Smith Partnership and 360, the decision was made to go for it. Claire Twells, Partner at Smith Partnership who has project managed this from the beginning said “It has been an exciting time and it’s great to see our vision become a reality. We wanted the office to be different from any other conventional law firm. Our main focus was to make this a unique and prominent space not only for our employees but of course our clients.
“From the minute we stepped into the space I could see the potential” said Howard Barnes, Director of Workplace Change at 360 “it had so much going for it – high ceilings, gallons of natural light, split level floors….it needed an occupier with the vision to capitalise on it!”
Three Hundred & Sixty Degrees set to work to develop the concept for Smith Partnership; designing in meeting spaces, washrooms, a capacious staff kitchen & breakout area, and open plan offices. The specific needs of a law firm were taken into account, and there are quiet booths for report writing etc and multiple meeting rooms for client engagement. Even the ‘after-dark’ view from outside was considered; the offices are in a conservation area so there is a very strict rule on external signage. The Landlord has installed large new windows, so the inner walls and frosting on external windows has been designed for maximum impact.
Following extensive design development work commenced on site in early 2018 being completed by the end of May. With all the elements now in place, the new Smith Partnership workplace looks nothing like any other office environment in Derby, having adopted a truly cutting edge approach to their new home!
To celebrate the official opening of the new HQ, Smith Partnership teamed up with Marketing Derby to host a Bondholder event on 6th September where over 200 local businesses were in attendance to enjoy champagne, a treasure hunt to explore the new premises and some delicious ice-cream. The ice-cream was sourced from a local family run social enterprise, Just-Ice, who sell ice cream to create jobs for survivors of human trafficking and raise funds to rehab child soldiers. The evening began with the official cutting of the ribbon by the Mayor or Derby, Frank Harwood, and two Derby County Football players, Craig Bryson and Craig Forsyth along with the management committee, as well as the unveiling of the plaque in the waiting area of the new offices by Smith Partnership’s Kevin McGrath and the Mayor of Derby. The evening was a massive success, thanks to everyone involved and everyone who attended.