This article about the way law firms use their office space throws up some interesting thoughts. The phrase 'design magnolia' is particularly striking:
"It means your customers might not remember your office, but they don’t remember it for the right reasons".
How depressing. I agree that clients might question where their huge fees (if you're fortunate enough to be able to charge huge fees) are being spent if they see over the top architecture in the reception of their law firm.
However, this doesn't mean that every law firm office has to look the same and be deliberately bland so as not to cause offence.
As client experience becomes more important in the law, firms need to work out how to use their buildings and space in a way that reinforces their brand. This doesn't mean making them grandiose, but it does mean making them distinctive.
After all, why would you want your clients to feel they could be in any office, rather than feel they could only be in your office?
“Some of the big US firms like to make a splash, they can be happy to spend for quality, the right acoustic quality and so on,” said Wilson. “But they’re not throwing money at it like the hedge funds or private equity, who often go for impact designs and who often don’t care as much about the cost. Law firms tend to keep it appropriate to what they do.” In the trade they call this Design Magnolia. “It means your customers might not remember your office, but they don’t remember it for the right reasons,” adds Wilson. “As a law firm, you shouldn’t be overly impressive.”