Navigation

Article

Back To Magazine

September 01, 2016

Lobby appeal

The importance of the condo lobby to its overall appeal cannot be stressed enough

Richard White

Article Photo Enlarge

When it comes to buying a house, we often hear about the importance of “curb appeal” i.e. first impression. When it comes to buying a condo, it’s all about “lobby appeal.” It often surprises me how little attention some condo developers and designers give to the lobby of a multi-million dollar building.


Disclosure: While I have not done an extensive survey of condo lobbies in Calgary, I can say there are very few that strike me a really memorable. What would it take to add some good art, with good lighting and a couple of designer chairs? 


However, recently I have encountered three relatively new condos where the developer and designer recognized the importance of the lobby as a key element of the design of the condo — Mark on 10th, Pixel and Ven.

 

Coupland Lobby 


Kudos to Qualex-Landmark for commissioning a painting by world-renowned Canadian artist, Douglas Coupland, for the lobby of their latest Beltline condo, Mark on 10th. I was a bit shocked when I first heard Qualex-Landmark was commissioning an artist of Coupland’s stature to create an artwork for a private lobby space of the condo. Silly me, I thought it would be outside where everyone could enjoy it. 


Parham Mahboubi, Vice-President of Planning and Marketing informed me that given Mark on 10th location the busy corner of 10th Ave and 8th Street S.W. in the middle of Calgary’s fledgling Design District, the company felt it was important to do something artistic to add to the character of the community. 


The piece titled “Interpretation of Calgary, Alberta in the 21st Century” consists of four rows each with five cheerful, colourful, candy-like circles that look a modern version of the “house” in curling or perhaps archery targets. Given the diversity of colours, it is not hard to imagine the piece represents the diversity of people who call Calgary home.

 

Disco Lobby 


I only discovered the Pixel lobby while I was flaneuring along 9A Street N.W. next to the LRT tracks in Sunnyside. While I had always liked its quirky yellow patio boxes, I had no idea the lobby windows were translucent-coloured glass that looked like the entrance to a hip New York or London disco. I immediately had to take a picture and tweet it out saying this was the coolest lobby in the city. Indeed, it was the coolest thing I had seen in a long time. 


I love urban surprises and thanks to Battisella Developments I had one of my more memorable urban surprises of the year.

 

Living Wall Lobby


Recently, friends moved into Bucci Developments’ new Sunnyside condo Ven, a hidden gem tucked at the base of the McHugh Bluff where 7th Street becomes 5th Avenue N.W. While the lobby is very modest in size, Bucci’s designers created a lovely lobby with a 20-foot high by 7-foot wide living wall as its centrepiece. This green wall or vertical garden is made up of hundreds of plants creating a vibrant abstract-like green painting with hints of colour. 


As you move to the main floor hallway Ven has several photos that pay homage to the fact that in 2013, before Ven was built, the nine houses and three garages on the site were turned over to artists to create a temporary art installation and performance space that was visited by 10,000 people over nine days.


Last Word


I challenge all condo builders and architects from here on it to make their lobbies special places where people want to meet visiting family and friends. It doesn’t have to be expensive to add a “WOW” factor, just some creating thinking.CL

Condo Living Insider

Grand Openings, Magazine Previews & More...



March 01, 2019

Calbridge holds virtual groundbreaking for Triveri House

Calbridge Homes took its turn to launch its contribution to the RESOLVE Campaign to end homelessness in… Read more about Calbridge holds virtual groundbreaking for Triveri House

March 01, 2019

Jasper launches in Livingston

Avi Urban opens its newest multi-family development in Livingston: Jasper. Invoking the pioneer spirit of Calgary’s new… Read more about Jasper launches in Livingston