Zashin & Rich – Cleveland Offices

  • Client Zashin & Rich,
  • size 16,815 sqft
  • Year 2015
  • Location Cleveland, Ohio, United States,
  • Industry Law Firm / Legal Services,
  • Vocon has designed the new office of Cleveland-based law firm Zashin & Rich.

    Cleveland-based law firm Zashin & Rich has a rock ‘n roll attitude atypical for most law offices. Led by brothers Andrew and Steve Zashin, the firm believes Cleveland and its rich history (particularly music) are a genuine and impactful identity and want their business to reflect the character of the hardworking, diverse, welcoming and talented nature of the “rock ‘n roll capital of the world.” Tired of a space that provided poor working conditions and little personality, the brothers took advantage of the end of their lease and embraced the opportunity to relocate to a space that would respect and celebrate Cleveland’s past but also the renaissance of the Rust Belt City, and ultimately decided to move to a new building on the East Bank of the redesigned Flats district. The firm challenged leading architectural and design firm Vocon to create a space inspired by Cleveland’s long history of music, asking for an elegant, modern and not too kitschy design, using the Sex Pistols’ neon yellow and pink “Never Mind the Bollocks” album cover as their inspiration. They wanted the space to disengage the preconceived notions of a law office both in function as well as appearance, helping the law firm to attract young, smart new hires to the city and create a sense of excitement for employees and clients.

    Thanks to their focus on family and labor law, much of Zashin’s work is completed through verbal discussions. To create a space that felt open, but still allowed for privacy, Vocon manipulated the acoustics and size of the space to provide for verbal privacy without creating visual barriers. In fact, there are no doors and almost no ceilings in the space, creating a feeling of openness while maintaining the appropriate scale of intimacy needed by a professional law practice. Unlike many law firms, Zashin tends to work in large groups and spends a great deal of time together as a company both professional and socially. The flexibility of the space encourages this cultural value. The space is divided into community areas (lobby, café, conference rooms and small huddle areas) and more private spaces (offices and war rooms). However, to maintain the feeling of transparency and connectedness between employees, the office has the flexibility to open the private spaces depending on the firm’s current needs. Rather than focusing on hierarchy, the firm provides the same amenities to everyone and the new office space reflects this sense of equality. Key areas of the space, such as the café and conference rooms, are accessible and open for anyone’s use.

    To differentiate the space’s appearance from traditional law firms, Vocon looked for ways to incorporate twists on traditional law firm materials. Rather than mahogany desks and details, the firm used a cypress that is burned on the edges, giving the appearance that many of the walls have been set on fire, creating a very rock ‘n roll feel. Instead of a stuffy private lounge, Vocon created a bar and lobby area for everyone to enjoy. Called the Rider Bar, the bar area was inspired by the rider sheets musicians use to request food, drinks and other amenities at certain venues. At Zashin, the firm’s employees stock clients’ favorite drinks and snacks, reinforcing the value they place on people and relationships.

    Continuing the music theme, a wall of photographs by well-known Cleveland photographer Janet Macoska of famous bands that have played in Cleveland greet visitors. Graffiti walls, a café sporting the neon pinks and yellows highlighted by the Sex Pistols album and neon busts of Shakespeare and Beethoven grace the space. There are even special touches to acknowledge Steve Zashin’s favorite band, KISS.

    Project Team: Nicholas Faehnle & Mary Burkhardt
    Photography: Jim Maguire