The entrance zone is one of the most important part of the office – no matter if it belongs to one company in fully or if its areas are divided into different tenants. The area performed and arranged with neatness, care about details, combining perennial classic with new trends and designer novelties, is going to serve for years. This place subconsciously creates the first and often indelible impression. What should we remember while designing and arranging the area in order to perform not only functional but also representative place?
The entrance zone is the most frequently designed on the level of preparing the conception of the whole building. Therefore, it is the main designer who decides about the way of arrangement and finishings which make references to the character of the building’s block and external surroundings. The entrance is then the extension of what is going outside and what is supposed to create a consistent whole with it. Of course, there is a second approach when we consciously contest what is going on outside the building. The interiors’ project is completely different – we go into the unknown world, the one which we did not expect while looking at the building from the outside – explains Anna Wnuk, architect in Interbiuro company.
However, in time when the building is getting older, there is a need to design the entrance zone from the very beginning, also including the introduction of new functions or resignation of those which did not work, meeting needs and requirements of new tenants. Additionally, the building’s tenant may increase the attractiveness of the structure by such development in opinion of potential tenants. The renewed, modernized and modern lobby has a positive impact on the building image, which is supposed to stay in mind – reminds Anna Wnuk.
What should we remember on the level of designing?
While designing the entrance zone of the building, we should concentrate on the fact if it is a headquarters of one company or whether the space is rented by many tenants. In the first case, the main reception of the building is the only place to which a quest comes, in the second case – as the architect points out – the area is a kind of a “guideline” which directs people to certain companies located in different parts and on different floors of the structure. It is often a place of waiting for a meeting: this function decides whether there are designed and involved elements such as reception counter or relaxation zone for people who expect someone in each hall of the building. A well designed hall will also reflect all individual needs and possibilities of tenants.
What do investors expect?
Architects, who design the entrance zone, usually have to meet expectations of investors related to flexible and financial matters and also find a way to elegant rearrangement of space in order to perform a place which is comfortable for guests and tenants.
In case of entrance zone in R34 building, there were three expectations. The form was supposed to be organic, there was supposed to be a green color (reference to elevation) and there was a need to introduce more light because originally chosen finishings heightened the feeling of being in a cubbyhole – says Anna Wnuk. – When we were arranging the hall of Wieżowiec Błękitny, we knew the investor’s budget from the very beginning. The project and realization could not have exceeded the price determined in advance. Such approach is very honest and allows the architect to confine so called area of a creative search, save some time and adjust the idea to the investor’s needs.
The present trend, no matter of the chosen style, orders the office to distinguish against competitive companies and express individual character of a leading business. This rule regards to offices in a similar way, therefore modern entrance zones do not remind those from the past with classical character and their stylistics is more and more courageous: beginning with industrial vibrations and ending with aesthetic mono coloristic interiors, so it often reminds private apartments considering decoration.
Entrance zones are becoming more personalized. This fact favors a creative approach of employees to work and well-being of all visitors. Hence, the usage of solutions which are standard available and mass produced furniture and decorations are not well perceived – thinks Edward Balicki, chairman in Massoni Office Furniture Factory.
Front office space remains a peculiar media message. Therefore, the expectations of a target group of clients should always be taken into consideration. For instance, companies which provide services to young recipients who appreciate dynamism and uncompromisingness should decide to lease space in an office which offers more courageous solutions – by using intensive, contrastive colors and modern irregular shapes.
Permanence and classic
In the process of designing the entrance zone, it is worth to apply permanent materials, especially the precious ones – natural and neutral, such as a stone, wood or glass. Traditional and solid finishing will serve for years and meet many tastes, constituting a showcase of the office as well as companies which function in it – says Anna Wnuk. On the other hand, it is worth considering to paint walls by vivid colors in order to warm up raw interiors. Natural green would be a perfect choice. We proposed such solution in the conception of the entrance hall in Oxford Tower building, which is located at Chałubiński 8 Street. Stone and granitic finishing on the floor and walls were replaced by green wall – comments architect in Interbiuro studio.
Less is more
A trend which has been present on the market for couple of years is the new simplicity. It differs from the stylistics of the 90’s. Currently, designers refer to solutions which are close to proposition of modernism’s classicists in the arrangement of the entrance zone. In accordance with the rule “less means more”, the reception is simple, however stylistically perfect. The effect is achieved not by the great amount of decorations, but thanks to a perfectly designed place. The emphasis of cubic forms, in turn, provides a proper lighting – explains chairman in Massoni. In this style, the color is limited to white, grey and white pastels. Moreover, the ceiling offers many possibilities.
Eclecticism in XXI century
Another popular style of the reception is a modern eclecticism, that is a combination of plastic solutions which derive from different periods and aesthetics. The eclecticism of the beginning of XXI century only delicately refers to shapes of objects made by former craftsmen. It is important that it would be only an inspiration and play with forms by creating merely apparent stylish mess – points out Edward Balicki.
The reception counter should separate office zone from hall and – as Edward Balicki explains – it would be the best if it is located opposite to doors and clearly marked. Moreover, the rules of ergonomics take the work of receptionist into consideration. The right performance of his duties is not possible without computers, cabinets and containers intended for storing documents which should not be within sight of a client.
The counter should be made from high class, aesthetic, permanent and easy to clean materials which additionally blend in with the rest part of the office – points out Edward Balicki. – The coloring and shape are depended on client’s requirements and the amount of space to adapt.
Relaxation furniture is essential element in a waiting room – so that a client would like to sit comfortable and relax after coming to an office, before he would be invited to a further premises. Its coloring may refer to the rest of a room or it may be in a complementary tone. The expert in Massoni emphasizes that materials of sofa, armchairs or chairs should enable easy and quick clean and they should be resistant to abrasion and fading: In order to provide better comfort of tenants, it is the best to choose soft seating covered with smooth one-colored upholsteries made from natural leather or eco-leather. According to trends, armchairs and sofas should revive the interior. Therefore, among different colors we are proposing red, green, orange, blue as well as neutral colors such as black or grey.
Furthermore, it is worth to place a small table with newspapers and magazines next to a sofa or armchairs. It should be made from permanent and easy to clean material. We should also not forget about a coatrack. On the other hand, it is worth to find a place for a logotype and name of an office, investor or companies which rent the area while thinking about decoration elements.
How long is the realization?
The factor which has a huge influence on the time of realization of the entrance zone is staging, that is spreading the whole undertake out. In case of refreshing, there is no possibility of closing the main entrance to the building. Therefore, all works are being conducted on so called life form, mostly at nights and weekends. Depending on the scope of works, the performance of medium height entrance zone takes from ca. 1,5 to 3 months. In case of works conducted, for instance, in hall of the building at Wspólna – it took 2 months from the moment of the order. However, construction works took two weekends and one whole week from 6 p.m. – explains Anna Wnuk.
Undoubtedly, front office is an important part of the office, no matter if the area is occupied by one company or many organizations. Along with the reception, it constitutes the first place to which a client comes and receives necessary information. Therefore, it is a showcase which has an impact on subconsciously built company image by a client. Except from functional aspects, it should also have aesthetical values – coherent with its activity and meeting expectations of a target client – a premises which is classically and timelessly arranged or the one which surprises with the originality of a fitting. The owner of Massoni company points out that no matter which option we choose, the interiors of the entrance zone should be interesting, intriguing, and completely not reminding the classical reception at first glance.
The motto which comes from the title of a book written by Jack Trout, marketing theoretic – “Differentiate or Die” became a marketing rule which enters not only in the sphere of a product, but it also concerns office areas. Therefore, the creation of a strong brand is also related to development of an artistic image and it is a crucial condition to gain the upper hand on the market. Front office zone is an extremely important place, especially if a company is thinking about establishing deeper relations with its contractors who will cooperate more eagerly in a friendly and comfortable surrounding – sums up Edward Balicki.