As skyscrapers have emerged over the decades, the corporate lobby has been a broad canvass for architects and anchor tenants to create lasting first impressions of a company's presence and brand. In such instances building lobbies have evolved from a small reception desks and bare-bone stone wall waiting area to Public Art lobbies with all manner of sculpture and painting. Beyond that in recent times through digital signage - culture and corporate branding have gained equal value as a premium communication opportunity to connect anchor tenants with their building visitors.
Here the corporate lobby should be considered less as a building entrance that funnels its visitors into the building and more as a golden opportunity for a corporation to present itself with a dramatic visual impact. Architecturally through digital signage, it is the challenge of integrating all these dynamic requirements into a singular expressive visual entity. Thus the physical space of a corporate lobby has taken on new meaning as an extension of the anchor's tenant's corporate identity. The solution is to use that space as a way to present the company's culture and corporate mission to an ever constant audience streaming through the building.
Gone are the days of just hanging tapestries on the wall as a temporary art space. With today's emphasis on branding and all the available digital audio/visual media that can be brought to the forefront, the corporate lobby is becoming the voice of the corporation, visually showing off its mission as a “living” part of what it does for the public it serves. Corporate lobbies who have capitalized on this have used every display technology available from LED screens, LCD screens, video projectors and other forms of multimedia equal to portraying the company's presence in a dynamic fashion.
In a tour through several corporate lobbies, it is interesting to realize the evolution of how corporate lobbies have transformed themselves from a traditional 'pass-through' space to a more functional corporate concierge space that has become an integral part of a down urban center.
As a way of making a dramatic first impression on employees and visitors to a building, the lobby has become a perfect starting point and digital displays offer the broad strokes and paint brushes to do so. In some instances the screens can be simple and functional, as in the New York City Museum of Modern Art where a strip of LCDs behind the reception desk becomes an electronic calendar of the day's events and a basic way finding system to help visitors navigate through the museum. In a more sophisticated approach, the lobby as David Niles (Niles Creative Group, NY, NY) has noted, “offers itself as a stage to a vast transient audience passing by, some who have less than five-minutes to appreciate your corporate messages.” Stage or gallery wall, architects, sign integrators and anchor tenants who have the vision and budget are redefining their lobby space into a media event of their own making.