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THE IN-BETWEEN: Elevator Lobby Design Strategies

The elevator lobby is often overlooked as an opportunity to reinforce your brand.  Regardless of its size, this workhorse space is a prime circulation area that is accessed multiple times a day. When the elevator door opens, the lobby area beyond should provide an inviting and appropriate reference to your brand experience.  With proper design consideration, the elevator lobby creates a strong first impression as well as a positive lasting impression for your building and campus brand.

Elevator Lobby Design Functionality

Typically, the elevator lobby at the main entrance of the building receives the most attention.  However,  common space is often at a premium for both senior living and higher education campuses. Upper level elevator lobbies provide opportunities for quieter gathering or informal study areas. Continue reading

INTERIOR DESIGN RENOVATION: 3 Rules for Reinvention

before & after photo collage of interior spaces Over time, buildings wear out, consumer expectations change and attitudes adjust. Reinvention is an ongoing and essential process of evolving and adapting to changing trends, commercial design standards and consumer priorities. Reinvention provides an exciting opportunity for good stewardship and long-term viability, while breathing new life into existing spaces. Continue reading

THE RAGE FOR GREIGE: Interior Design Strategies for Using Neutrals Effectively

several sample photos with greige Beige, gray and everything in between are today’s go-to neutrals for creating subtle and sophisticated spaces. For those who may be wondering, greige is simply a combination of gray and beige, merging the soft, cool tones of gray with the warmth of beige.

Understated gray and beige tones provide easy appeal and are especially valued for their timeless qualities.  However, as is often the case, you can have too much of a good thing so we typically recommend not relying exclusively on neutrals.  We’ve asked a couple of our interior designers to share their thoughts about working with greige. Continue reading

PATTERN PERFECTION: Making Bold Patterns Work for Your Spaces

different patterns on a variety of surfaces

Patterns are back and making a HUGE impact across the industry in everything from interior design to fashion to rolling pins.

tory burch anthropologie
According to Tory Burch, the patterns we are seeing in 2018, like the items at right from Anthropologie, were inspired by the work of David Hicks in the 60s and 70s.

As is often the case, many of the floral prints, tropical vibes and geometric patterns that are dominating current fashions are now popping up in interior spaces. Both fashion and interior design trends reflect a constantly evolving blend of tradition, culture and innovation that influence self-expression whether it is your personal or business brand.

Patterns, like bold colors, add visual interest and often serve as the focal point for a space.  They foster a sense of energy and dimension that are difficult to achieve with color alone.  When done well, patterns have the power to transform any space or object into quite a showstopper with rich and distinctive interest.  While going bold can be daunting, it does not have to be.  The challenge is developing the right mix of elements to effectively interact and balance one another, ultimately forming a cohesive whole that is both unique and inviting.  If you are scared of jumping in feet first, start small, with a gorgeous pillow or a unique piece of art. Continue reading

INTERIOR MASTER PLANNING: If You Don’t Know Your Brand, Neither Will Your Customers

several photos showcasing brands or the word brand We most often think of brands in terms of products, but every organization has a brand whether self-defined or by default.  Simply stated, your brand is the personality of your organization and the promise to your consumers. An effective brand identities your values, defines how they are communicated and reflects the emotions and experiences consumers will have when they interact with your business.  One group that handles branding particularly well is the hospitality industry. Most hotels and restaurants create a distinctive brand identity to differentiate their services and spaces from others in the marketplace. Continue reading

YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE . . . Making a Positive First and Lasting Impression

Lobby Cover Graphic Do your reception area and lobby create a positive first impression that reinforces your organization’s brand?  From the moment they arrive, people start making assumptions about your business and the products or services you offer. There is no one-size-fits all solution, since the best solutions are unique to your brand, location and profession. (Check out these unique office lobbies at The SquareFoot Blog that reflect the brands of the companies they represent.) However, there are basic rules that apply to every lobby space, regardless of your organization’s business focus.

MAKE IT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE: You want to create a lasting impression, but make sure it’s a good one. This starts with the basics of making the front door easy to find and then providing a clear indication of where to go once inside. Have you ever gone into a restaurant and been forced to pause in the foyer unsure of where to go next? We’re all about creating a “woHospitality w”, but the first priority must be to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome as soon as they open your front door.

YOU ARE INVITED: Create an open, inviting and fully accessible experience. Seating areas should feel intimate, but avoid cluttered or segmented vignettes that compromise circulation and visual access to other spaces. Optimally the lobby should provide views to adjacent areas to help with wayfinding and reinforce a sense of positive energy and hospitality. In our office, a gallery featuring local artists provides a nice transition space between the lobby and work areas.

HOW MAY WE HELP YOU? The front desk should emulate hospitality venues with the visible functionality of a concierge desk rather than an office work station.  Table height is preferred.  Any equipment should be screened. Think respectful, welcoming gesture versus imposing barrier.

THE QUEST TO IMPRESS: Create a focal point (like our before/after example below) that reflects your organization’s brand and typically is not the front desk. This could be a fireplace, water feature, distinctive artwork or even a vase of fresh flowers. If you opt for flowers, just be sure someone has responsibility for keeping them looking fresh.

lobby before & after interior design photos

LIGHTING THE WAY:  Light levels should adapt to avoid glare issues when entering or exiting the building. Maximize natural light and outdoor views whenever possible. Decorative lighting can be a simple, inexpensive solution to easily adjust light levels throughout the day and reinforce your design style.

BRAND LOYALTY:  The lobby should define your organization’s brand; with updated furnishings, finishes and accessories. If the physical setting of your lobby conflicts with your brand or lacks impact, then the consumer experience is one of confusion and uncertainty. Recognizing that this is typically a high traffic area, finish selections should be not only esthetically pleasing, but also durable and easily maintainable to avoid looking dingy or “tired” over time.

The front desk at the Chic and Basic Hotel in Barcelona, Spain makes a strong first impression and reinforces the brand. http://www.chicandbasicramblashotel.com/en/
The front desk at the Chic and Basic Hotel Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain makes a strong first impression and reinforces the brand.

This article from Homedit highlights the endless possibilities for reception desks including the Chic and Basic Hotel front desk pictured at left. We also like the recycled books used for a library front desk.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: Stylish yet functional furniture should accommodate users of varying ages and abilities. This makes a positive impression by signaling your organization’s commitment to serve the needs of all individuals including those with limited mobility.

In today’s marketplace, attracting consumers and meeting their expectations starts with making a positive and lasting first impression. More examples of noteworthy entry spaces can be found at Office Snapshots.

Charlotte Stoudt, IIDA, LEED AP, has 16 years of experience as a commercial interior designer. Her appreciation for the value of a “wow” first impression goes all the way back to the 7th grade when she stepped into the foyer of the Philadelphia Academy of Music. She strives to create that kind of lasting impression for our clients today, for projects large and small.