Working in symbiosis

At the end of 2019, the Antwerp-based firm GSJ Advocaten joined Post X, relocating into almost 3,000 m² of office space fully furbished by Studio Alliance member Alternativ.

The client’s brief extremely challenging: creating an open space office that would encourage collaborative work, while still respecting the principle of confidentiality that governs the legal profession. Design & Build mission accomplished.

GSJ Advocaten, one of the largest law firms in greater Antwerp, opted to move from their small offices inside town to the new POST X office complex next to the Berchem railway station and the Antwerp ring road.

Renting three floors and nearly 3,000 m² of office space, GSJ Advocaten contracted Alternativ to undertake the full management of the project.

Symbiosis, a mutually beneficial concept

Pedro Rodrigues, an interior designer at Alternativ, defined symbiosis through an analogy with the leaves on tree, fully attached to the stem and trunk. His concept thus underscores the close cooperation and synergy between each employee in an office.

Iris Van den Ostende, the Project Manager at Alternativ, then developed Pedro's concept, taking into account all the client’s needs. "I met no fewer than 25 of the 70 people who work at GSJ Advocaten to identify and understand their needs," she confides.

GSJ was looking for an open space, which would help bolster the image of a modern law firm, but was also afraid of losing on the ability to work in a quiet environment and keep concentration high.

Iris Van den Ostende put things into perspective: "The concept of open-plan offices not only saves square metres (which many clients require) but also fosters a feeling of working together on a common project. There was another parameter to take into account: a law firm needs personal space! We thought long and hard about the problem and came up with a solution. We first created two separate areas: a public area for clients on the ground floor; and a work area upstairs. We then created Team Zones in this work area, i.e. where several people could concentrate and communicate at the very heart of the common open space.” GSJ liked the solution presented by the Project Manager. The works could get underway.

Just like home

The concept of symbiosis, explained up by Pedro Rodrigues, convinced GSJ. The many meetings initiated by Iris Van den Ostende with GSJ employees helped to allay their apprehensions about an open-plan space. But a WOW effect had to be created from the outset…

Read the full case study on: