Traditionally, lobbies only served as an entryway or waiting space for most office spaces. It wasn’t uncommon to see only a reception desk and sparse furniture.
The office lobby functioned similarly to a waiting room, providing a place for visitors to relax while waiting for an appointment or meeting.
This type of lobby can still be found in some government offices and even commercial buildings. As the workplace design gets rejuvenated, the old idea of the lobby is being phased out in favor of a new perspective: the lobby as a common area and statement.
Many businesses have reimagined the lobby as a place for people to socialize, make plans, and prepare for the workday.
As such, today’s lobbies have evolved to become large and flexible office spaces. In most cases, the same lobby can contain individual workspaces, group meeting areas, and even event spaces.
As lobbies are seeing ever-increasing usage, it’s crucial to consider how they can influence work performance.
The lobby is the first physical representation of the company that most clients or potential employees will see. It should, hence, reflect what the company stands for as well as create an enormous impact on how people feel.
The design is therefore vital not only for employee health and productivity but also for branding.
With some simple enhancements, a lobby can transform into a brand ambassador that gives a remarkable first impression and communicates the company’s mission through its design.
A young design company can splash bold colors on the walls, have minimalist modern furniture, and opt for funky decor features like lamps and shades. The company’s logo and name should be visible clearly.
The logo could even be a back-lit installation on the wall behind the reception desk. Or, you could turn your brand colors into the tonal scheme of the room.
If the colors are too strong, you might want to use them sparingly along with a neutral shade like white, cream, or beige.
If you have enough space, you could set up an information area where the material about the company is available. In smaller spaces, an interactive screen can be put up on a wall that explains the background of the firm.
In the context of lobby design, experience design means constructing a space in which people feel thoroughly comfortable working and interacting. Your space should evoke certain emotions when people walk in.
Biophilic elements and branding are undoubtedly essential to creating a remarkable lobby, but many designers are going to the next level with experience design.
The basic idea is that by maximizing interaction in the built environment, occupants will feel more connected to the space and want to return to it.
Proponents of experience design argue that the way a person reacts to an environment is largely emotional. For example, people don’t go out to an expensive restaurant to eat but rather to have a unique experience.
In addition to being “a place that allows us to recharge, reflect, and renew,” according to Layne, the lobby must be a space that visitors genuinely enjoy, and they need to have a novel experience that they can’t have anywhere else.
Here, experience design ensures that when people arrive in a lobby, whether for work or play, they interact with the environment in a way that creates and sustains positive emotions.
Like any other space, you need to first take the area into consideration. Is it a small room or a grand triple-ceiling atrium-style space?
From colors to furniture pieces, the spot for the reception desk and the waiting area, and décor elements, all these elements should be thought through. This also will completely depend on the space at hand.
The reception desk should fully or partly face the main entrance and the waiting area should be opposite the desk.
Design tip: If there is enough space, you can opt for a number of waiting zones spread around the lobby. For the floors, it is best to go for durable natural stone or tiles as they handle constant wear and tear. You can opt for a number of waiting zones spread around the lobby.
Lobbies are popular spots for doing work nowadays, sometimes even serving as impromptu offices.
Larger lobbies offer lots of seating options and other amenities, they’ve become ideal for employees to gather and work.
In a society where people are always connected (both to each other and the world) with technology, it makes complete sense to create similarly connected spaces with abundant access to technology.
For a lobby to optimize employee wellness and productivity, its design needs to be humanistic, considering biological and mental needs.
Biophilic design in the lobby is one answer to this, as its thesis is that a connection to nature improves occupant wellness.
Studies have shown that incorporating natural elements like daylight and ventilation creates a healthier workplace.
In biophilic spaces, workers typically experience increased productivity, reduced stress, and better sleep.
Even including a few biophilic elements such as plants and natural light exposure can dramatically boost work performance across the board.
In conclusion, lobbies harness large amounts of potential that can be used to improve employee performance and even evangelize your brand.
The lobby sets the tone for occupants’ experience, so it’s absolutely critical to put the same amount of design effort into your lobby as you would an office space.
Whether you instill a sense of biophilia with reclaimed wood or provide comfort with a relaxing lounge, you can easily create an impactful, work-friendly lobby that your visitors won’t soon forget.
What’s more important is that in today’s flexible workspaces you don’t necessarily have to work around this.
You can always take up space in a coworking space and create a lasting impression to clients from these beautiful spaces as most spaces have beautiful lobbies within the spaces going beyond what lobbies were initially known to beautiful spaces where you can always hold quick meetings or even catch up with colleagues.