Entrance hall and ground floor refurbishment

Making an entrance: Heritage meets contemporary

Concealed behind two 10ft high black wooden doors is the sleek and sophisticated entrance to 66 Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

First impressions count. And for this high-end law firm in central London, their office needed to communicate utter professionalism – prudent, calm, confident and contemporary.

Despite interior fit-out works taking place in the main entrance to the building, the space needed to remain open so the firm could continue functioning with minimal disruption.

Sorrel Group’s team navigated technical challenges, logistics and restricted working times, and the result has been a triumph. The charm of the building’s heritage has been retained while injecting a fresh feel, including the installation of many modern facilities.

Digging deep

The existing reception area needed updating but key to the brief was increasing security measures. To enhance the space a bespoke curved, fixed reception desk was designed using two-toned Corian, integrating new security gates to ensure that nobody could enter the building without being granted access.

The new desk’s white finish complemented the reception area’s fresh and neutral décor and finished with modern subtle spotlights to the step.

To install the security gates, the team drilled down through approximately one foot of concrete to gain access to the vaults and connect the electrics. Fortunately, the floor was not listed, but the top layer was formed of uneven stone slabs that took meticulous care to fix back into place.

Adam English, project manager at Sorrel Group, said: “The client was keen that the necessity for security gates would not hinder the appearance of the entrance. We specified smooth sleek gates that fitted in seamlessly into the desk. It was important that a harmonious balance between heritage and modern was captured for such a prestigious client.”

Hiding the work

During the works, the law firm needed to continue business as usual, so it was impractical to undertake the task during the day. To minimise disruption, Sorrel suggested carrying out the work in the evening once the offices were closed. The team undertook three weeks’ worth of night shifts to complete the work.

To avoid the reception area looking unsightly during the works, Sorrel installed a temporary wall structure to enclose the area. The platform was built like scaffolding and hidden behind the wall.

Commenting on the works, Trevor Cox, premises project manager for Farrer and Co. said, “Any impact on Farrer’s operations is critical. Sorrel understands that and is flexible to our needs. They never tell us what to do, they liaise with us.”

Retaining the charm

Muted colours were chosen for the walls for consistency and to retain the bright and airy feel as the reception area extends into the staircase and the waiting area. In line with the building’s heritage, the original gold pendants were kept as a nod to the old times.

British-made burgundy-brown broadloom carpet was bespoke cut and side stitched to the staircase and finished with brass carpet rods to each step for a classic, chic feel. The carpet extended to cover the first floor.

Extreme care was taken when decorating to preserve the detailed architraves and neo-classical columns. Often these features can be covered up as coats of paint build up over time, hiding the intricate details underneath.

“Number 66 is of historic and personal value to the Farrer family and the people who work and visit here. These are very old buildings that will go through numerous refurbishments in their lifetime,” said Trevor Cox.

“Updates are necessary but protecting the heritage is of equal importance, and Sorrel Group feels that way too. They will take the time to consider how to hide pipes or electrics so that walls do not need to be knocked down. They care about the buildings as much as we do.”