Wellbeing, sustainability and agile working combine in Osborne Clarke’s new flagship Bristol office

May 11, 2023

International law firm Osborne Clarke has completed the relocation of its Bristol base to one of the UK’s most sustainable office buildings – a move it says reflects its culture and values.

Some 780 employees have transferred from Temple Quay – where the firm’s Bristol office had been for 21 years – to the top five floors of the new flagship Halo building, pictured, part of the city’s Finzels Reach regeneration scheme. 

Osborne Clarke, which also has offices in London and Reading, is occupying 74,000 sq ft of the 116,000 sq ft landmark development.

Halo, developed by Bristol-based Cubex and funded by Fiera Real Estate, is the first office building outside London to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding certification against 2018 sustainability assessment criteria.

It is also one of the first office developments to be connected to Bristol’s pioneering low-carbon district heat network, while other greentech features include roof-top mounted solar panels, which reduce dependence on fossil fuels, highly efficient LED lighting and air quality monitoring technology that responds to levels of pollutants in the indoor environment.

Osborne Clarke, which has consistently been recognised for its outstanding workplace culture, said it wanted to ensure the new office would meet the needs of its people and reflect its core values.

It commissioned Bath-based strategic office design-and-build company Interaction to create a standout design and internal fit-out which responded to extensive employee consultation.

As a result, the workspace features a yoga and spin studio, a restaurant with a roof terrace, extensive indoor planting, including ‘living walls’ and indoor gardens where staff can work away from their desks,, with the fit-out using reclaimed tiles and recycled materials to support the focus on sustainability.

Destination points on each level, an informal creative space and flexible meeting areas with moveable walls and furniture have been strategically designed to encourage greater collaboration and movement between floors. 

Space has been maximised with innovative digital connectivity while natural materials and light have been used – factors that Osborne Clarke and Interaction hope will secure the fit-out a WELL Building certification.

Osborne Clarke said Halo also underpinned its market-facing, three-dimensional client proposition, which combines legal expertise, sector understanding and transformational insight across three of the key intersectional issues facing businesses and society today: digitalisation, urban dynamics and decarbonisation.

Osborne Clarke Bristol office head Lara Burch, pictured, said: “We’re thrilled to be moving into our new home at Halo, a workspace that perfectly encapsulates our future-focused approach with its cutting-edge design and technology. 

“The new office is integral to our continued success as a leading employer in the region, investing in our people, clients and local communities.”

She said despite challenging economic markets, the South West continued to attract top talent and cement its reputation as a tech, energy and life sciences innovation hub.

“Wellbeing, agile working and sustainability are at the heart of Halo’s innovative workplace design.

“We understand the importance of supporting positive employee wellbeing to create an environment where people feel they belong, understand expectations and can be happy and healthy.

“It’s the foundation for strong performance and in turn, the best way of ensuring we achieve great results for our clients.

“With plenty of exciting opportunities, our unique three-dimensional client strategy helps us to deliver great results and clients appreciate the added value it brings.

“Alongside our work advising clients on environmental and decarbonisation matters, prioritising our own responsible and ethical credentials, including our green workspace, is key to our business strategy,” she added.

Interaction managing director Dieter Wood said: “Osborne Clarke puts the wellbeing of its employees and sustainability at the centre of everything it does.

“We’re really proud to have created a super-flexible workspace that fully embodies the firm’s core values.

“Our design team worked closely with employees across the firm to get a real feel for their working culture.

“The result is a workplace that promotes staff health and agile working, while also meeting strict sustainability standards.”

While Osborne Clarke is an international firm with 25 offices across the globe employing more than 1,000 people, its roots are in Bristol, where it was founded in 1748.

It took its current name from the 1979 merger of Bristol firms Osborne Ward and Clarke Gwynn & Press.

At the time of its move to Temple Back from Queen Charlotte Street in 2002 it employed around 470 people in Bristol.

Last year the firm achieved its strongest results to date with UK revenues up 20% to £199.1m and net profit increasing 14% to £77.2m.

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