Long gone are the days of stuffy, museum-like, out-of-proportion and underutilized lobbies.

Tenants are looking for spaces they can use as an extension of their offices, and landlords are seeking to offer amenities and services that serve to attract new tenants. The lobby has become the venue to satisfy both the landlord’s and tenants’ needs. As a second workplace, it has become an extension of an organization’s culture and values and an attraction for new tenants as what could be called the third space.

Bergmeyer design teams begin each project with a set of questions, devised to hone in on a project’s design intent: “What is the first impression? What do we want to make the end-user feel and experience? Where does this journey begin, and where does it lead?” For a company leasing space in a commercial building, the experience begins as soon as one opens the building’s front door. Not only do we as designers find this first impression critical, but building owners and tenants, too, are seeing the benefits of a well-designed, multifunctional lobby.

A commercial lobby’s lifespan reaches 15-25 years before a building owner considers a renovation, and even the age of a lobby alone is usually not enough for an owner to initiate a refresh. Typically, we are seeing building owners invest in lobby improvements to help attract potential tenants as they compete with the new, quick-moving developments in a hot real estate climate. A strategically redesigned lobby could be a key determining factor for tenants when deciding to sign a new lease in an existing building.

So what are some of the new lobby trends that one may experience in a new or renovated commercial building? Check out some of the lobby initiatives we’re seeing below:

  • Flexible workspace – Flexible workspace creates activation on the ground floor of a building. Lobbies were traditionally seen as a “pass-through” spaces. By creating areas for people to work, host meetings, or socialize, the area becomes energized and conveys a sense of space. Offering amenities within the lobby, such as cafes and concierge services, invites tenants and visitors to stay and experience the building.
  • Re-thinking the reception desk – Depending on building operations, a “traditional” reception desk with a greeter or security guard may no longer be needed. The cost and usable square footage this function takes could be given back to user-experience, flexibility and connectivity For larger buildings that do need a security standpoint, landlords are offering concierge services – some are even partnering with hotels to supply these services.
  • Variety in furniture offerings – meeting tables, lounge furniture, open communal areas, private areas for solo work or personal/private calls. Variety means there‘s a little something for everyone.
  • Hospitality Vibes – Commercial lobbies are taking note of luxury hotel lobbies, adding fireplaces, music, soft lighting, and artwork

Sample renderings of a preliminary commercial lobby concept

Published May 09, 2019