As an emerging law firm in Houston, Texas with a stellar reputation, Shipley Snell Montgomery required a space that reflected their brand identity as formidable yet resourceful trial attorneys.  Being a relatively new company, the space was designed and executed on a very modest budget.  The team decided on a series of high impact low dollar moves in keeping with the company’s ethos. The public facing side of the space occupies a continuous open area along a window wall with glass conference rooms flanking each end allowing for a space that is equally at home entertaining as it is staged for mock trials. Taking queue from legal ethics, the team applied a continuous large scale graphic along the window wall using quotations from the opening passage of the Texas Lawyers’ Creed, “A lawyer owes to a client allegiance, learning, skill, and industry.”  This strategy also helped to mitigate the appearance of undersized windows typical to vintage of this building.  As digital resources have come to replace traditional law libraries, the team chose to capitalize on the many underutilized legal volumes currently in circulation by repurposing many of them as part of a custom reception desk.  In all, 495 books dating form 1904 thru the 1980‘s were carefully arranged with the oldest having their binding visible and the newer receiving one of a series of dye treatments along the visible page edges. A mathematical model was developed to derive a rational pattern of color variation and the books were each hand dyed and sequentially numbered prior to being pressed into rows forming the facing of the reception desk.  Several law journals were stacked and bound with a vintage leather belt complete with a big old Texas belt buckle to form reception area side tables.


“When Shipley Snell moved into the historic 712 Main building in downtown Houston, the partners tabbed Houston architects Mayfield and Ragni Studio to execute on the idea of reflecting at once both the firm’s dedication to the best traditions of legal excellence and its fresh approach to providing legal services — and architects Kelie Mayfield and Erick Ragni exceeded all expectations.  Mayfield and Ragni’s design successfully embraced Shipley Snell’s emphasis on ability, efficiency, and a true collaborative approach.”


-  Partners of Shipley Snell Montgomery



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