The Evolution of the Lounge

As Coalesse celebrates our 10th anniversary, we’re looking back at some of the workplace design trends we’ve witnessed and participated in over the last decade. One standout trend is the evolution of the lounge.

From periphery to primary

Ten years ago, the lounge setting was largely a lobby-only solution. It was a place for guests to perch while waiting for a meeting—a staging area of sorts.

Gradually, the lounge-style reception area became both a retreat for employees seeking respite from the bullpen and a place for informal meetings and conversations as people came and went.

Noticing a change in the way people were using traditional lounge settings, designers began introducing similar ancillary spaces in other areas of the office.

The lounge made the jump from reception area to the center of the office. 

“Lounge settings are now being applied across a company’s campus and into the primary work places as adjacent alternatives for use throughout the day,” said John Hamilton, global design director for Coalesse.

Lounge spaces, like this setting with Millbrae Lifestyle Lounge and Massaud Lounge, are becoming the desired work space for many workers.

The need to ‘flex’

This migration from the sidelines to the heart of the office largely stems from the demand for more comfortable, home-like spaces—an approach called resimercial design. The lounge’s growing popularity throughout the office is influenced by our love for the places where we feel most comfortable at home.

These less-corporate spaces “encourage the relaxed interactions where creative discussions can happen more spontaneously,” Hamilton said.

For many people today, the lounge is the preferred work location because it allows them to “flex” between focused individual moments and collaborative group sessions. This need to flex between varied tasks has become a consistent requirement in modern office life.

Settings of choice

While we don’t have precise metrics showing a shift in how leading companies are apportioning their work spaces, we see—virtually every day—a rising expectation for greater diversity in work settings and postures. Designing for possibility has become part of the strategy to draw and keep talented employees.

“A one-size-fits-all planning logic will not attract the best talent or retain the talent you already have,” Hamilton said. The need for “workplaces that workers want to work in and are choosing as their first place to work is more important than ever.”

Want more inspiration? See how ad agency Campbell Ewald brought the lounge into the heart of the office. 

Published On: November 6, 2018
Filed under: Design Inspiration

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