ENS Interiors Certification – Collaboration, Productivity and Wellbeing
The fit-out for ENS, Africa’s largest law firm, recently achieved a commendable 5-Star Green Star Interiors v1 certification.7
Spanning seven floors within Cape Town’s iconic 35 Lower Long, which was developed by Abland, the fit-out prioritises sustainability, collaboration and user wellbeing.
The fit-out is housed in a base building with an existing 4-Star Green Star Office v1.1 Design certification. Covering a total usable area of 5,941m² and designed by Thinkspace in close collaboration with ENS and various expert consultants, the office interiors provide various unique spaces in which to work privately, collaboratively, and to interact socially with colleagues and clients.
With both functionality and comfort in mind, a collection of sound-proofed spaces offers privacy and cutting-edge technology that enables seamless e-meetings, each with its own dedicated and customisable settings for temperature, air flow and lighting.
Elri Syfert, sustainable building consultant at Solid Green, comments:
These enclosed spaces provide appropriate speech privacy levels, in accordance with the ‘Performance’ method, with sound insulation between acoustically sensitive rooms and other occupied spaces.
Guido Tagge, director at Thinkspace, adds, “These versatile areas cater to both formal and informal interactions. The end result is an ideal setting for focused work and collaboration.
“Contrasting with these intimate individual-orientated spaces are the accessible communal areas on each level. Designed to foster natural collaborative flow, the communal meeting and working spaces have access to ample natural light and breathtaking views. They also have custom planters housing indigenous African plants, organic-shaped lights and environmental land-art-inspired walkways designed to give impressive views over the city. Waterpoints and feature handwash stations are strategically positioned in each wing to allow easy access to hygiene, not only in response to our learnings from the recent pandemic but also to make hand washing accessible as part of the workplace of the future.”
Choice of materials was also an important consideration that contributed towards the certification. The furniture, assemblies and floor coverings specified have third party eco-labels and certificates, demonstrating reduced environmental impact. Most of the appliances and tenant equipment in the fit-out are rated under the Energy Star® system or the European Energy Labelling scheme, while all printers and photocopiers within the occupiable area of the building meet the standards for low harmful emissions.
“We have adopted a saying ‘more than this’,” says Mzi Mgudlwa, Chief Executive ENS.
This means that our business doesn’t only revolve around what we do, and the wonderful people we work with and for. Rather, our business is about truly caring about what matters. We want to go all out to make a “differENS” that counts.
Lee Mendelsohn, Chief Operating Officer ENS, adds, “It was a pleasure working with the Solid Green team on this important project. Their dedication, integrity and expertise in guiding us to ensure that what we do now, and going forward, is sustainable, is truly commendable.”
Standard Operational Floors
The office floor concept revolves around “OWN Spaces” (OS), providing a uniform office solution for each individual staff member, regardless of employment status.
All OSs are centrally situated in clusters around the inner core, intentionally separated from façade lines to maximize natural light in common areas and accommodate shared functions. Each OS is identical in size and design, emphasising visual and acoustic privacy and with optimised storage, individual lighting and air-conditioning control, own filtered ventilation, virtual/e-meeting call background branding, and a whiteboard.
Cluster configurations ensure smooth traffic flow, connectivity to natural light and city views, which are shared by everyone, and access to communal facilities such as print stations, water points, central storage and meeting rooms.
Levels 22 and 23 are ENS’s direct connection to the world, clients and visitors. They redefine standards by embodying the brand essence, while catering equally to client and staff needs.
These floors are divided into two distinct functions: a welcoming meeting environment and a versatile restaurant space. With separate entrances yet connected internally, these areas seamlessly converge with a state-of-the-art open cooking kitchen, strategically positioned at the heart of the building.
The restaurant provides diverse seating arrangements with varying levels of privacy, including enclosed sections, which can be transformed into multifunctional presentation spaces, and an abundance of planters housing indigenous African plants and accessible hand washing stations. This environment, enhanced by upscale finishes and captivating city views, prioritises flexibility, hospitality and the wellbeing of staff.
Managed through the welcome desk, the client meeting areas are conveniently linked via an interconnecting staircase, which encases a planter. Here, the design, flow, finishes and branding ensure a cohesive and immersive experience for clients.
ENS’s fit-out is a testament to the organisation’s commitment to sustainability and wellbeing. By integrating nature-inspired elements, energy-efficient technologies, and collaborative spaces, this project exemplifies the future of office design – where productivity, wellbeing and environmental consciousness coexist in harmony.
Accredited professional: Solid Green Consulting
Interior designer: Thinkspace
Electrical engineer: Converge Consulting
Fire engineer: Sutherland Engineers
Mechanical engineer: Ekcon Engineers & Project Managers
Quantity surveyors: Du Toit Pienaar Quantity Surveyors
Sustainable design review: Solid Green Consulting
Sustainable building consultant: Solid Green Consulting
Wet services: Sutherland Engineers
Main contractor: Stabilid Cape
Project manager: Abland
Environmental consultant: Vivienne Stern & Associates