Mishcon de Reya: into Africa

Posted on 22 October 2015 by Samantha McClary. Source: Estates Gazette

Mishcon de Reya: into Africa

Law firm Mishcon de Reya has transformed Africa House, WC2, from a multilet standard office into a place where staff and clients are able to work in confidence and collaborate in the open.

When law firm Mishcon de Reya selected Africa House at 70 Kingsway, WC2, for its new headquarters, collaboration was at the heart of its decision.

The firm has been present in Holborn since the late 1960s, but over recent years its footprint had become scattered, with staff housed in several offices around the area. It needed to bring its staff back together, so in 2012 the hunt for a new space began.

The firm scoured Midtown and even dipped a toe into the unlawyerly-like King’s Cross, N1, for a 150,000 sq ft requirement. But the perfect single space could not be found. Until Africa House.

At 122,000 sq ft, the office block is still not big enough for Mishcon’s expected growth but it is close enough to its former HQ (which will be retained and refurbished), at Summit House on Red Lion Square, to have synergy. And for the partners at Mishcon, it was important that the firm remained in Midtown. “It is part of our DNA,” says Philip Freedman, chairman of the firm.

For law firms, creating space that is attractive to clients and employees and in keeping with the changing nature of offices, while still preserving confidentiality and the need for privacy, can be difficult. But for Mishcon, being able to provide both open and confidential space was key.

The expertise of architecture and design firm TP Bennett was enlisted to help with the refurbishment and fit-out of the partially listed Africa House, but the majority of the design was taken on by Mishcon partners, particularly the real estate division’s Ian Paul, with input from all staff.

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