Wake Smith

New City Centre Office

Founded in 1802, Wake Smith is a long established South Yorkshire firm of solicitors. Its continued growth plans and commitment to the Sheffield City Region, saw the company move to a new city centre office location in January 2016.

The landmark move allowed Wake Smith to take two floors in No.1 Velocity enabling consolidation of the company’s two former offices at Clarkehouse Road and Campo Lane and providing room for future expansion. Clarkehouse Road was an old bay-fronted Victorian office building overlooking Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens The building was made up of old fashioned and restricted cellular office space over multiple floors, without a lift, DDA difficulties, with inefficient heating, ventilation, fluorescent lighting, poor storage and sporadic use of inefficient air conditioning. It was single glazed and poorly insulated , leading to high utility bills. It also suffered from poor logistical access to the courts, city and railway station. Wake Smith’s new base at Velocity offers some of the finest Grade A office space in Sheffield, only a minute’s walk from the city’s courts and the legal and financial district, with excellent transport links and close proximity to the motorway networks. Wake Smith took in excess of 12,000 square foot of open plan floor plate with ample and secure undercover parking within the building itself, good access to the offices, with lifts and disabled access. Velocity offered an ideal template with raised access floors, ceilings, air-conditioning and 24-hour access control system already in place. A modern building with glazed elevations all around providing natural light. In addition, there is an on-site café and fully equipped gym.

About the project

Following at least three referrals from reputable Sheffield business people, Structural Interiors was invited to talk to Wake Smith. Wake Smith was looking for a company that could “gel with the firm, understand its history and culture, take that ethos and turn it into a modern office environment that could satisfy its directors, staff and clients”. Structural Interiors, with deadlines looming, quickly set to work on designing and creating Wake Smith’s new space. The brief was for a more cohesive space with cellular areas for confidential meetings, client interviews and a boardroom. The new building is primarily glazed with frameless acoustic performance glass to retain the benefit of the natural daylight throughout the space. The offices enjoy the feeling of exterior inclusion with the attractive rear inner courtyard which houses Sheffield’s Man of Steel sculpture “Tall Dreams” and Feng Shui-inspired ornate gardens. As part of our design we needed to create working spaces that would inspire all members of the Wake Smith teams, improving employee engagement, productivity and well-being.

Furniture being an all important and integral part of the design, the need for some areas of bespoke furniture soon became clear. We involved the Wake Smith team members in the project, and took them to see our Italian furniture-manufacturing partner Alea for a factory tour, and to discuss their specialist needs. Our scope of works included adaptation to the air-cooling system, performance ventilation, decoration, creation of a secure server room, break-out areas to each floor and frameless glazed partitioning with bespoke manifestation. The office now accommodates all of Wake Smith’s team members utilising stylish modern desking, complemented by elegant waiting and break-out areas featuring BOSS Design soft furnishings, providing collaborative work spaces as well as somewhere to eat and drink. The bespoke elements of our design incorporate a stylish reception desk with “living wall” – Sheffield is after all the greenest city in England!


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