Blog - Commercial

15 January 2019


There’s an old saying that “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. And this certainly applies to business. In fact, the most successful business leaders know that first impressions start long before the handshake.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most glamorous lobby designs in Sydney and look at why they offer a platform for businesses to transform the face of their brands. (And what separates the good from the great …)

Lobby design projects an image

Picture a flustered client escaping the bustling city street, only to be greeted by your cramped, outdated reception space. Your lobby and reception form the first and best chance your business has to make a positive impression. The most forward-thinking organisations ensure they use this to their advantage.

But what does a good first impression look like, and exactly how important is making one?


As the facades of ageing buildings can often appear dull, the lobby is the first chance to make a visual statement. When it comes to reception and lobby design, it’s important to align aesthetics with expectations. Upon entering your building, what does your business want a prospect or client to think, feel or do? Answering these questions can help guide the right foyer style to suit your needs.

For example, New York’s hotels are world-renowned for their spectacular lobby areas.

The same could be said of many buildings in Sydney’s CBD, with old exteriors giving way to majestic reception areas that aim to surprise and delight.

The beautiful lobby in the Westpac building @ 341 George St, Sydney

341 George Street in the heart of the Sydney CBD is an excellent example of a heritage location boasting a sophisticated foyer.

Constructed in the 1920s, the marvellously preserved former headquarters of the Bank of New South Wales speaks to a timeless marriage of old and new. Marble pillars bathed in natural light give this lobby a sense of enduring luxury that appeals to all variety of businesses.

Giving face: What your lobby design says to international visitors

In the past financial year, Chinese commercial real estate investment in Australia was approximately $4.4 billion. And our Director of Sales and Leasing (Asian Division), William Shen, believes lobby and reception spaces remain more important than ever for the image-conscious Asian market.

“As well as a strong family focus, Chinese people have a very business-minded culture. They pay close attention to the image they project in order to attract customers. Office design, location and the quality of a building’s entrance play an important role in their choice of where to lease or invest,” he says.

For Asian investors, the importance of lobby design cannot be understated. The notion of Mianzi, or ‘saving face’, is a cornerstone of Asian business etiquette and relates directly to ensuring your lobby is up to scratch.

Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith of Forbes magazine describes the strong urge Chinese business people feel to avoid criticism, show respect and suppress confrontation.

“Even more proactive is finding ways to create or give face,” she says. “Acknowledging social status, showing appreciation through public praise or giving expensive gifts and recognising prestige all elevate the recipient and give face.”

A well-designed reception area communicates this respect to your business’ visitors.

Reception and attention

It’s no secret that businesses that create a great physical working environment for their employees benefit from lower absentee rates, higher productivity and better company reputation. Employees navigate the lobby and reception space of your building every day – so a favourable experience can actually help their morale and advocacy.

A lobby and outside space of a commercial property in Sydney CBD

Australia Square at 264 George Street is a great example. Recognised by the Urban Development Institute of Australia as one of the top five developments built in NSW over the last 50 years, the complex keeps employees at the top of design considerations, with an exceptional courtyard area and striking art features.

You can read more about the link between work environment and retention in our article CBD as easy as 123: Why moving to the CBD makes financial sense.

Coffee anyone?

Foyer cafes are also becoming increasingly popular in commercial office buildings, with baristas lining up to lease high-traffic spaces. Some buildings have taken it a step further, offering small shops and restaurants in their foyer areas.


Lobbies with sustainability at their core are celebrated as design-led, thoughtful and future-proof – a powerful brand identity to express to important visitors.

For example, The expansive foyer of the modern and sustainable Grosvenor Place, also on Sydney’s historic George Street vein is another of Seidler’s masterstrokes. It boasts one of the most expansive and desirable entrances in the Sydney market. The lobby area is flooded with natural light and brought to life by a feature-wall of indoor plants. Punctuated by colourful art pieces, the lobby also reflects the modern organisations within.

The lobby at Grosvenor Place, 255 George Street Sydney

Incorporating sustainable design into your lobby area (and your entire building design) helps boost the progressive image of your business. It can also have a profound impact on employee satisfaction and productivity, as well as reducing your energy expenditure. The use of natural shading, double-glazed windows and insulation are simple ways to keep up with the environmentally proactive corporate landscape.


Commercial buildings are increasingly commissioning artists to decorate their foyers for a variety of reasons. For example, to create a visual statement, to help their visitors relax or to get their attention. Art pieces can help to make commercial premises appear more inviting, rather than feeling cold and sterile. Colourful art pieces can reflect modern organisational occupants and can help make a space feel more like a luxury airport lounge than a multi-company reception.

The bottom line

Your office is a reflection of your brand, which means that clients and employees should have a positive experience the moment they step into your building. A thoughtful lobby and reception is key to making that all important first impression.

What’s more, Sydney is the commercial hub of Australia and consistently ranks among the world’s most liveable cities. Visiting the so-called ‘Emerald City’ is a breathtaking and full-sensory experience, particularly for out-of-state and international business visitors. And for many buildings, this experience starts in the lobby.

Want to learn more about commercial opportunities in the Sydney CBD? Contact the agents at TGC today!


Date: 15 January 2019 Author: TGC Writer
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About the author:

TGC Writer

TGC is the largest privately owned commercial real estate agency in the Sydney CBD, with over 20 years experience servicing the CBD, City Fringe and greater Metropolitan property market. We’re committed to assisting you with your total property needs, including buying, selling, leasing and property management.

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