Reception – area, which creates the first impression
During the first few moments the potential client is creating her opinion on a building and on the companies that inhabit it. The first impression decides how much is the building attractive and also quite often, if the building is credible enough for the client to inhabit it.Although it is not possible to influence people’s opinion, it is however possible to gain the first impression to our advantage – to create friendly and representative environment of the reception and the entrance area.
Disposition and architectonic intention
The reception area is a crucial part of architectonical or – if you wish – design presentation of every building. Reception and entrance lobby is an area, where visitors and clients get their first impression – the entrance area should be friendly and safe, not at all cold or uninteresting.
It should get visitor’s attention with something innovative, something original, what could only be seen in that particular building. Reception and its adjacent areas are a suitable place, where original and unique design solutions could be implemented. Reception should appear graciously and professionally and at the same time should be practical for the staff providing the everyday service. Not only it should reflect corporate image of the building and support the culture and brand of its tenants but it also should help visitors to orient themselves.
The design and equipment of the reception has a task – to fulfill the practical and visual demands, which comply both residents and new visitors and all that during full service, access control and smooth transport of employees. Often the entrance areas are underutilized – the trend nowadays is to create a multifunctional space, which can serve as an informal meeting zone, place for short meetings with clients and business partners.
Proper air circulation
One of the challenging disciplines is heating and cooling of the reception part, because outside-air circulation can very quickly and unpleasantly decrease inner temperature. Even these factors need to be taken into consideration during the drafting of design and technologies. Important point is also to include all hygienic and safety standards and regulations.
Basic points for successful design:
1. Original and representative reception desk
- Shape – platform of the reception desk is given by the disposition and transport routes – the desk can be linear or partly closed (shape L, C). Classic solution is a desk in rectangular shape, modern desks could be diversely cracked or have round edges.
- Size – Usually unfolds from the available space and number of employees, who work at the reception.
- Material – The trend goes for wood, glass and corian. All these materials offer not only proven and standard solutions, but also the option of non-traditional shapes.
- Backlit panel – especially in the lower part creates the effect of floating reception desk
2. Resistant and durable sitting furniture
- To the frequent usage of common areas only high quality furniture adapted for commercial utilization will resist.
- The cover material and its quality guarantees that the upholstery won’t scuff in the long run.
- The furniture should be modular and provide various options of arrangement.
3. Distinctive and quality materials
- High quality floor is an item not worth saving money on. Unattractive flooring cannot be hidden in any way.
- Cladding behind reception – wooden, stone or high resistant graphic cladding can be an attractive addition to the reception area.
- Suspended ceiling – do not forget that visitor is also looking above the horizon of her eyes. Wooden slats, plasterboard or atypical iron-plate suspended ceiling look good in the entrance area.
- The goal is to have various lighting atmosphere. This can be achieved by several kinds of light sources – spot lighting enhances the reception desk on the dominant element of the space.
Theory fighting the practice and ideal state fighting the budget
The apparent trend within the increasing competitiveness between buildings is revitalization of entrance lobbies and receptions during full operation. A lot of factors are entering this issue that the client/building and the provider must solve.
The majority of projects of this particular type are dealing with limitations of the reconstruction during operation, usage of original materials in context of the whole building, the lack of documentation, copyrights, which are not historically solved, insufficiently prepared infrastructure in the entrance lobby and many more. Another big issue is often weak connection between investor’s assignment, architect’s design concept and relation between budget and final tender price.