Blog - Commercial

12 July 2016


The most successful business leaders know that first impressions start long before the handshake.

Picture a flustered client escaping the bustling city street, only to be greeted by a cramped, outdated reception space.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?

Projecting an image

In the past financial year, Chinese commercial real estate investment is estimated at grossing $6.6 billion alone. Our Director of Asian Division, William Shen, believes lobby and reception spaces are more important now 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.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most glamorous lobby spaces in Sydney and look at why they offer a platform for businesses to transform the face of their brands.

So what separates the good from the great?


New York’s hotels are world-renowned for their spectacular lobby areas. As the facades of ageing buildings can often appear dull, the lobby space is the first chance for a hotel to make a visual statement.

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.

When it comes to lobby and reception 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.

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 says to international visitors

For Asian investors, the importance of the reception area 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 benefit morale and advocacy.

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.

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

Australia Square at 264 George St has been recognised by the Urban Development Institute of Australia as one of the top five developments built in NSW over the last 50 years.

Designed by renowned architect Harry Seidler, the complex keeps employees at the top of design considerations, with an exceptional courtyard area and striking art features.


Lobbies with sustainability at their core are celebrated as design-led, thoughtful and future-proof – a powerful brand identity to express to important visitors. Industry accolades like the annual Australian Sustainable Building Awards recognise progressive businesses and afford further credibility.

Environmentally-conscious office spaces also have a profound impact on employee satisfaction and productivity.

The Victorian State Government’s Sustainability division found that buildings that accounted for environmental considerations fostered more productive employees, were more likely to endure and cut their energy spend by up to 50%.

Furthermore, the Australian Government’s Ecologically Sustainable Development design guide surveyed the environmental characteristics of 11 Australian businesses. They cited the use of natural shading, double-glazed windows and insulation as simple ways to keep up with the environmentally pro-active corporate landscape. These recommendations are in line with the lobby and reception designs of the most progressive global companies based in Sydney, which include eco-friendly features like breathing green walls.

The lobby at Grosvenor Place, 255 George Street Sydney

The expansive foyer of the modern and sustainable Grosvenor Place, also on Sydney’s historic George Street vein, feels more like a luxury airport lounge than a multi-company reception.

Another of Seidler’s masterstrokes, Grosvenor Place 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 reflects the modern organisations within.

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.

It’s little wonder that Sydney 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. It’s also no surprise that foreign investment in Australia has hit record highs, with one in three commercial buildings sold going to overseas investors.

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


Date: 12 July 2016 Author: TGC Writer
TGC Commercial Real Estate Property Logo Lozenge

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.

Your details:

Your friend's details:

RETURN TO LISTING You will be returned to your current within seconds