Welcome

Translating a symbolic image to design, the photograph represents the premise that finishes and materials can convey the message of a “warm welcome” and create a feeling of anticipation, rather than anxiety. The chair takes the form of a bouquet. The masses of roses also indicate that natural materials, living plants and other direct and indirect expressions of nature have become part of today’s design strategies for creating a positive work environment.



 I feel welcome

RECEIVED WISDOM HAS IT THAT “YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE TO make A FIRST IMPRESSION.” WITHIN SECONDS OF ENTERING A RECEPTION AREA OR OTHER POINT OF ARRIVAL AND ENTRY, WE BEGIN TO INTERPRET WHAT WE SEE AND TO FORM EXPECTATIONS. IS THERE AN ATMOSPHERE OF DECORUM? OR, IS THE PLACE BUZZING WITH ACTIVITY? DOES IT FEEL WARM AND WELCOMING OR SLIGHTLY INTIMIDATING? A NEW CLIENT OR POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE WILL QUICKLY GET A FEEL FOR THE CHARACTER OF THE SPACE AND FOR THE BRAND AND CULTURE OF THE COMPANY. THE CLIENT WILL BEGIN TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT SHE WANTS TO DO BUSINESS HERE; THE JOB CANDIDATE WILL KNOW IF HE WANTS TO WORK HERE. THE BRAND EXPERIENCE STARTS AT THE POINT OF ARRIVAL



Whatever its business, most companies recognize the value of a welcoming, well-appointed reception area. Architect Lauren Rottet, principal of Rottet Studio, notes that, “At Johnson Downie in Houston, a recruiting company for law firms, we designed a reception without a desk. Instead, the visitor enters right into a living room and kitchen space where they are greeted and offered refreshments. Knowing that food and drink are key to social interactions in hospitality spaces, the same can be true in a welcoming space in an office.”

The Houston Chronicle describes the Johnson Downie office as “stunning aerie” in which a “white marble bar replaces the typical corporate reception desk, white leather furniture invites relaxation, rich wood floors bring a touch of warmth, a few chrome accents add sparkle and floor-to-ceiling windows suggest endless possibility.” Rottet Studio’s fresh, approach creates a space of “extreme clarity and light” that might well transform the mood of visiting clients from one of anxiety to one of calm anticipation.

Gensler recently designed the flagship office of McCann World Group in midtown Manhattan, creating a main reception with a dramatic open flight of stairs that ascends to an executive level designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio. The double-height space resembles “a hip hotel lobby, with seating that’s tailored yet informal.” Rendered in an elegant palette of greys, the reception area is both approachable and impressive, as befits the gravitas of a global advertising agency founded well over a century ago.

"Make sure it feels like
it's made by humans,
for humans"
- Stefan Sagmeister

Today’s maturing start-ups also recognize the role that interior design plays in communicating brand identity and values. In New York, Warby Parker worked with Lynch Eisinger Design (led) to create an office that is more understated than one might expect from a six-year-old group, but its reception still projects an energetic culture with mid-century elements and the words “nice to see you” written large across a white marble desk. Designed to help people feel at ease, while projecting Warby Parker’s new grown-up status, the entry uses a signature palette of blue, white, and gray, along with walnut shelving, cozy “Egg” chairs and other warm, welcoming elements. A central, double-height space contains an open staircase that allows “staff and visitors to share a point of entry, and common experience,” notes architect Simon Eisinger.

Beyond establishing a visual language, interior design can create an inviting and immersive experience for every visitor to a workspace:

  • Create an easy transition from the point of arrival into the interior space with an approachable reception desk – or no desk.
  • Choose seating that invites people to relax.
  • Provide support for personal technology.
  • Warm lighting, intriguing artwork, plants and other design elements reinforce the brand and the sense of welcome.
  • Plan a sequence of transitional spaces that create a sense of how the reception opens the way to the activities beyond.
  • Offer generous options for refreshment.

Download the knowledge book:
The True Measure Of A Space Is
How It Makes Us Feel