Hourglass

The Law of Attraction

We won the pitch to design the interior of this top tier law firm by radically changing the space inside Dam & Partners’ hourglass-shaped building. By reshaping and softening the main atrium of the design, and doing away with the glass partitions, we sculpted an open space that warmly welcomes clients and employees. Hourglass beautifully creates a new blueprint for law firms by balancing the more closed and compact office spaces required for legal work.

BudgetConfidential
Time span2016 - 2020
Size17 000 m2
StatusCompleted
LocationAmsterdam, NL
TypeInteriors, Offices
Client
Confidential
Partner in charge
Paul Stavert
Partner in charge
Project lead
Dirk Jan Schaap
Project team
Anoek Bras
Philip Weber
Michael James Lucas
Ryanne Janssen
Stavros Voskaris
Niek van der Putten
Caya Dikken
Helene Pedersen
Project management
Vintage furniture
Loose furniture
Partition walls
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The office floors are highly ordered while the larger, more open spaces flow organically – embracing traditional values, yet ready for the new century.

A welcome feeling

The grand staircase beneath the atrium
The atrium and staircase seen from the lobby

A welcome feeling

Our design opens up the lobby, greeting clients with an impressive welcoming gesture. Sweeping stairs, set against a green wall, lead upwards to the expansive atrium bathed in light. The lobby coffee bar adds to the feeling of informality and hospitality. For the law firm, the interior needs to combine very different needs: atmospheric public spaces like this for clients, staff meetings and socializing, and private working spaces for legal work. As confidentiality remains a key requirement, many of the 750 work stations are organized in closed rooms. While carefully ordered, these remain flexible for future changes in configuration. In between these ordered offices, we added more open working areas – for example at the corners of each floor – for support functions that need less privacy.

Open-minded

The stairs lead to a light, open area for informal encounters
Unbroken corridors connect closed offices and the atrium
Corner break-out areas offer more fluid work areas
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Behind the scenes

The Library flows around the second, more private atrium

Behind the scenes

Concealed from the public areas, a second, inner atrium echoes the main atrium and allows the office floors to breathe. It provides a more private, library-like environment, with a variety of spaces for reading, meeting, phone calls and working. As it does throughout the 17,000m2 office, wood creates a warm, calm and natural environment here. The library shelving and seating elements are custom-made – examples of over 100 tailor-made joinery pieces that we created for the Hourglass, each one adding its own sculptural presence to the space. These include a desk that allows for a variety of configurations, easily changing the use of the office where it is placed.

Our approach to interiors is unusually spatial, and we know – from our villas – how to design on a human scale.

Dirk Jan Schaap

Fittings as sculpture

Contrasting wooden elements energize the first-floor bar
The custom-made bar forms a three-dimensional focus
Our furniture modules offer a Midcentury Modern ambiance
Vintage, new and custom furniture in the coffee corner
Tailor-made units create atmospheric dining spaces
Varied working areas, flowing between the office floors
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Luxury for all

The boardroom with podium

Luxury for all

In the boardroom we use vintage furniture, as we do throughout the office, in the interests of sustainability and to create a warm, human style. Many reused items came from the previous offices of the law firm – examples of a tangible design heritage that adds atmosphere and a story to the space. The private offices in the Hourglass are fairly neutral and functional, not differing much from the public meeting rooms. Instead, luxury is spread throughout the shared spaces, including the meeting center on the 17th floor. While all the rooms and spaces differ widely from each other, they all share a family resemblance thanks to our use of carefully worked out materials and color palettes.

Spaces of connection

Curved forms soften this rectilinear 17th-floor meeting room
Contrasts in texture and color enliven simple shapes
Natural light contributes to the warm atmosphere
Art and design follow the same formula
We green the meeting place in the Garden Room
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Detail of the garden room

We pay great attention to detail and materialization, and we love materials that speak for themselves.

High impact

Detail of the loft on the 18th floor

High impact

The law firm occupies two-thirds of the Hourglass building; 12 out of 18 floors, namely the bottom ten and the top two (a short-stay hotel occupies the intervening floors). The 17th floor is the office’s meeting center, with a wide variety of rooms for client briefings. Evoking the luxurious hospitality of hotels and VIP lounges, these vary in format yet echo each other in detailing and materialization. Above the meeting center, the loft is the social heart of the building, the place where the office entertains and celebrates in style. Correspondingly, the spaces here are more relaxed and loungelike.

Social capital

A place to unwind: the loft bar and lounge
Circular lights soften long lines
Vintage furniture is eclectic, individual and sustainable
The loft frames great views of the surrounding city
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Detail of space adjacent to 18th-floor staircase
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