This article was originally featured in the July 2023 ‘Great Workspaces’ section in Biz New Orleans. Article by Melanie Warner Spencer, photography by Sara Essex Bradley.
In January 2023, law firm Duplass APLC moved from its former, labyrinthine offices in Lakeway Center to a new, 13,400-square-foot space in Metairie Towers. For the interior renovation of the Metairie Towers offices, the company worked NANO’s very own Terri Dreyer, owner and founding partner, and Kelsey Chappuis, designer, to reimagine their new work environment.
The new space needed more natural light and the law firm wanted to place collaboration, as well as privacy, at the heart of the concept. Duplass APLC managing shareholder Michael Pfister and the NANO team recently visited with Biz to discuss the new space.
“We had to provide a new dynamic office floor plan that was bright, collaborative and modern. The new layout aligns with the firm’s culture, while also seamlessly achieving both privacy and collaboration — a crucial balance for any law firm.” – Kelsey Chappuis, Designer
What were the design team’s goals?
Kelsey Chappuis: The client’s former office, before moving to Metairie Towers, consisted of divided space and maze-like corridors. So, in response, we had to provide a new dynamic office floor plan that was bright, collaborative and modern. The new layout aligns with the firm’s culture, while also seamlessly achieving both privacy and collaboration — a crucial balance for any law firm.
What was the biggest design challenge?
Kelsey Chappuis: Other than windows in individual offices, there are only two exterior windows in the main public areas. Since our main goal was to design an open, bright, spacious environment, the limited windows immediately posed a daylighting challenge for us. We had to focus on maximizing as much natural light as possible. Through extensive daylighting studies, we strategically designed clerestory windows above the doors to each of the private attorney offices that had their own windows. That way, we were able to let natural light permeate through the central spaces, while still ensuring attorney privacy and staying on budget.
What is the standout feature of the design?
Terri Dreyer: An incredibly unique aspect of this project is how the central spaces form an exceptional sequence. The progression from the reception area, leading to the conference room and then culminating in the library, creates a central axis within the open office plan. Also, the custom millwork shutter system provides a subtle backdrop of privacy, reminiscent of many of the distinctive architectural elements found throughout New Orleans.
Click here to read the full issue. The full article can be found on pages 55-58.