Walking into a new space is much like meeting a new person; first impressions are everything and we all walk away with an opinion. For most buildings, that initial point of contact comes from one place: the lobby.

A lobby can say a lot about a building; it is the first impression not only for current and potential tenants, but visitors as well,” explains Teresa Lingg, Associate with Colliers International | Minneapolis-St. Paul. “The lobby also says a lot about an owner. What type of tenant are they trying to attract?  Do they take care of common area upgrades? How likely are they to take care of me?”

These initial impressions affect people’s reactions about a building, and with society becoming more invested in “the experience” than ever before, the importance of good lobby design and a building’s emotional investment is crucial.


Characteristics of good lobby design

But where do you begin? Let’s start with some basics.

Your lobby should be:

– Easy to Navigate

– Functional

– Appealing to a Broad Demographic

– Entice Favorable Reactions


“Lobbies should be clean, open and have a clear sense of direction that makes it simple for people to know where they need to go to get to their final destination,” explains Alyssa Wolney, Tenant Rep Project Manager for Welsh & Colliers. “Many factors come into play here including the layout, style, color, and even the artwork. Colors and style should appeal to many groups of people and be tailored to the type of tenants you are trying to attract.”

Art is also an important factor of good lobby design and is a great way to create interest and evoke emotion. Many different approaches can be taken here, from adding a simple decorative railing to commissioning a set of paintings or sculptures. Being aware of the amount of space available can also help determine the size and amount of art needed, keeping in mind that every added piece will affect the flow of your lobby.

Wayfinding and building directories are also an essential part to the functionality of good lobby design. It’s important to make sure essential information is easy to see, understand, and update. TV monitors have been taking over the corporate office sector as of recent, and are a great way to enhance a lobby’s functionality, allowing information to be updated on the fly so that pertinent information is always present.

Combining these factors to create a favorable environment can quickly turn a lobby into its own marketing agent. Welsh’s Southdale Office Centre Lobby Remodel is a great example of this, with updates to all of the finishes, flooring, and furniture to create an inciting introduction the moment a person walks in.


Constructing an Experience


Using a lobby’s unique characteristics to create an experience is another great way to get the most out of any investment.

The Rand Tower in downtown Minneapolis is a great illustration of this, using its “Gatsby-esque” charm to make visitors feel they have entered the 1920’s the moment they step inside. First impressions are very important and Rand Tower’s lobby has a class and feel that can’t be duplicated,” adds Lingg. From the inlaid stars and moons on the terrazzo floor, to the circular staircase, the original details don’t go unnoticed and create a topic for conversation for owners and associates alike.

Investing in good lobby design is a great upgrade everyone can enjoy and appreciate, and provides even more value that isn’t specific to a certain tenant or floor. The lobby is the place where it all begins, so making the right renovations can make a big difference. Constructing a desirable lobby that encourages a positive experience with a fully-developed plan that meets your needs, wants, and goals will drive engagement and strengthen your investment for years to come.