Michael Serota was the only designer that really understood the use and requirements of corporate libraries and had a strong portfolio in the field.Hilary Smith, Information Manager, Kennedys
Kennedys is one of the leading dispute resolution law firms in the City of London with clients in the field of insurance and reinsurance, an industry where business is still conducted largely on a face-to-face basis. In 2008 Kennedys moved to its new building in Fenchurch Avenue, London EC3, which brought staff and operations from three previously separate offices into one location.
Previously Kennedys had three separate libraries, one on each site; the libraries were in less than ideal situations: one was too small, another was in a corridor and the third was in a room shared with stationery. Shelving was prone to collapse and taller volumes were not able to fit into the existing shelving. Moving to the new offices gave Hilary Smith, the Information Manager, the opportunity to plan a new library from scratch, including floor space requirements, design and library furniture.
Hilary planned the library layout and space allocation to cater for the next 5 to 15 years. She recommended a specialist library designer be involved early-on and Serota was selected from a shortlist of three. The library was designed so that the librarians at the enquiry desk could immediately be visible to users and librarians could identify anyone in need of assistance. Serota also designed fully adjustable shelves which could be adjusted to the required height as the collection changed. Although unobtrusive, the shelving was strong enough to withstand the very weighty materials the library owns. Serota supplied a variety of double and single-sided units along with a curved librarian's desk and matching mobile pedestals.
There has been a very positive response to the new library from lawyers. They appreciate having somewhere welcoming and peaceful to come and work, do some research or for a quiet space. Now that the three collections are in one, users find it more rewarding to come and browse. Some lawyers are so impressed that they even give clients a tour of the library.