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Baker Donelson's New Baton Rouge Office Garners Design Award


(Baton Rouge, LA/November 10, 2009) The new Baton Rouge office of the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, has been recognized as a top design project by the South Central Chapter of the American Society of Interior Design (ASID). Steinmetz & Associates, the firm that designed Baker Donelson's new office in Chase Tower North, received a Gold award recognizing its work as the best design project in the category of new office space under 20,000 square feet. The honor was announced on October 17 at an awards dinner held in Jackson, Mississippi.

"The team at Steinmetz created a work space that is both attractive and functional," said Roy Cheatwood, managing shareholder of all of Baker Donelson's Louisiana offices. "We are pleased with the results, and we congratulate Steinmetz & Associates for being recognized for this project."

According to Steinmetz & Associates President Deborah S. Steinmetz, FASID, FIIDA, who served as design principal on the project, her design team focused on creating a contemporary design not typically associated with attorneys' offices. "Our approach was to create an open and elegant space with clean lines and lots of light. This is definitely not the dark, conservative look that was the standard for law offices for so long. The Firm was very involved in the design process, resulting in a mutually successful project."

Features of the office design include artwork commissioned by local artists, the use of full-height furniture panel systems, ergonomically designed workstations and a break room that has the look and feel of a café.

Irving Alicea, the Steinmetz & Associates project manager who led the design team for this project, noted that, from the start of the project, Baker Donelson was committed to an environmentally responsible approach to its new location. "We focused on energy efficiency and the use of materials with recycled content to create a new office space designed with sustainability in mind."

These are some of the green elements incorporated in the design.

  • An open, airy design allows for more natural light in interior spaces, reducing the need for light from electrical fixtures.
  • The electrical light fixtures that were used are highly energy efficient.
  • Energy efficiency is also achieved through motion detector controls for office lighting to reduce electrical consumption when the office is unoccupied.
  • Construction materials with recycled content included door frames, wood doors, door hardware, glass, carpet and wall covering.
  • All paint used throughout the office has reduced VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds).

According to Mr. Cheatwood, the desire for a green focus in the new office design was in keeping with the BakerGreen program, a firm-wide program adopted in 2008 to focus on lessening Baker Donelson's impact on the environment. The range of initiatives adopted as part of this program includes utilizing green techniques in office renovations and construction. "Utilizing green initiatives in the construction of this new space is about more than being a responsible corporate citizen," said Mr. Cheatwood. "It's a smart business decision, because these initiatives all have a positive impact on our bottom line."

Steinmetz & Associates is a full service architecture and interior design firm serving the southeastern United States from offices located in New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia. The firm is the recipient of numerous design awards and annually plans more than one million square feet of corporate, retail, medical and office flex space.

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Johanna Burkett
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