Let's talk about lobbies. Does anyone else notice how they've been evolving lately? Time was, a lobby in a commercial office building was a place to pass through on your way to your ultimate destination. Lobbies were typically designed to be functional, but usually ended up charmless and uninviting.
Today, all of that has changed, mainly because of the internet, mobile phones and the digital transformation of our society. Wi-Fi is everywhere. And we all have our connections to the outside world, whether it's the latest news updates, our personal and work email, texts from friends and family, even our full office suite of digital tools, in the palms of our hands. Today, we can and do work, communicate and play from anywhere.
Savvy building owners are onto this trend and transforming their lobbies as a result. Now, lobbies need to be not only safe and functional, but warm, inviting places where people will want to stay awhile. Taking a page from the hospitality industry, residential and commercial lobbies are becoming gathering places.
Here are some tips for creating an inviting lobby where people will want to linger.
Seating arrangements. Different types of seating arrangements in your lobby will accommodate different types of uses. A cluster of armchairs is perfect for an impromptu meeting. A sofa in front of a fireplace is a great spot to take a break and read. A high table and chairs can function as a desk to get some work done. Making your lobby seem less like a pass-through and more like a living room will encourage people to treat it that way.
Natural light. Some lobbies, especially in older buildings, can feel like fluorescent-lit caves. You just can't wait to get out of there. Natural light gives an open, cheerier feel, and allows you to incorporate plants, further adding to the warmth and welcoming feel of the space.
Interior lighting. Few things make a bigger statement than an artistic, modern chandelier. Oftentimes, these turn into the lobby's focal point, beckoning visitors' eyes upward, causing them to pause and take in the beauty. Near your seating arrangements, floor and table lamps personalize a visitor's experience and give off a warm glow.
Beverage stations. Learning from the success of the hospitality industry, more and more residential and commercial buildings are installing beverage stations in their lobbies. Fresh coffee, hot water for tea, filtered water or fruit-infused water, along with non-plastic mugs and glasses give the people who enter your lobby an invitation to sit a spell. Offering a beverage to a visitor in your home is a no-brainer. You should do the same in your lobby.
A water feature. No, not filtered water to drink. We're talking about a design element, fountain, piece of metalwork, or even a full or half wall that incorporates moving, trickling, bubbling water. The sound alone will lower people's blood pressure in a snap, and it brings the beauty of nature into what had once been a stark indoor environment.
Color. White and beige are out, warmth is in. If you can give it a fresh coat of paint with warm colors, that's an easy first step. But if you're not doing a complete remodel or building anew, you will have to work with the lobby walls you inherited. Maybe they're wood, marble or some other type of stone that can't be altered with paint. Build on what you've got, and add warm, inviting color the same way you'd do in your home, with accent pieces, rugs, lighting and artwork.
Modern conveniences. Charging stations with extra power cords, electrical plugs, and the Wi-Fi password posted in easy-to-find spots make it convenient for guests to sit down and get some work done.
If you're thinking about transforming your lobby, we'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact us today at Titus Contracting and let's talk about it.
Written by Scott Rajavuori on September 24, 2019