The Plan: Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas’ New Offices at 444 Madison Avenue
When law firm Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas acquired a prominent divorce firm last year, it went on the hunt for a new, larger Midtown office.
After the partners signed a lease for 33,000 square feet across the fifth and sixth floors at 444 Madison Avenue, they started looking for a designer who could create a law office that would differentiate their firm from the stuffy, wood-paneled work spaces of their peers. So, Steven Sladkus, a real estate attorney and a founding partner of the firm, connected through a friend with residential designer Tamara Eaton, who has her own eponymous firm.
“We wanted an upbeat, bright workplace that would make everybody happy coming here every day,” Sladkus said. “We consciously chose a modern, industrial look.”
Eaton created an office with pale gray porcelain floor tiles and carpeting, walnut wood doors and desks, and occasional pops of color.
“It was a real struggle to find something light and airy [for the floor] that wouldn’t be dangerous in an office, in terms of durability and staining,” she said. “So I picked durable porcelain that had a lot of movement and texture within the porcelain so you wouldn’t see traffic patterns over time. And same for our lighter gray carpet.”
The reception area, for example, is open and modern, with dark blue mid-century modernist chairs, a dark gray couch and a backlit black sign announcing the firm’s name behind the reception desk. A few feet away, a staircase clad in black metal has been punched between the two floors, and a brightly colored, paint-spattered amoebic painting hangs above it. There are also small, abstract wooden sculptures, created by Sladkus’ mother, adorning the reception area and an open space by the downstairs kitchenette.
On the lower level, a spacious, communal kitchen is accented with a red wall and white subway tile backsplash, along with walnut chairs and cabinets. Exposed, white-painted ductwork along the ceiling and a stripped, black metal structural column with rivets also speak to the more casual vibe. Eaton finished construction on the space last month, and the attorneys moved in before the end of February.
“It’s a young, vibrant firm,” explained Eaton. “I think there’s a very stodgy quality to a lot of law offices. There was a nice balance between who the partners are and the energy they have and kind of bridging that modernity, happiness and vibrancy with what you traditionally think of as a law office, with lots of dark woods.”