Seattle’s 2201 Westlake Lobby provides a meaningful escape from the rush and commotion of city living. What was once a pass-through lobby now serves as a touch-down space meant to evoke calm and warmth, enticing people inward, like shelter from a storm.
When walking through the glass front doors, a massive 15-ft. high living wall spans the length of the lobby, and curves around corners, hinting at hidden spaces. Guests walking through the lobby are immediately caught by it; the greenery pulls one in and suggests that they’re walking through the living wall itself. The flora of the vertical garden incorporates native PNW ferns and is designed in the shape of the Puget Sound, a subtle design element that may go unnoticed upon first viewing.
Inspired by the concept of biophilia and the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the lobby is enriched by warm and welcoming nested lights, evoking the natural diffusion of sunlight. A light-up indicator panel above the elevator imitates the brightness of an open window while understated chandeliers of champagne brass complement the natural light pouring in from the lobby’s glass facade.
Durable end-grain wood sourced from Oregon delineates seating areas while simultaneously pulling warm tones from overhead beams, guiding eyes along the ceiling towards the floor, where an impressive 15 by 18 ft. hand-woven rug from Pakistan makes use of vivid blue hues to elicit the impression of water.
A glimpse of greenery upon emerging from the garage elevators and peeking around corners encourage the constant discovery of details as the space is traversed. Staff follow the interior canyon of the living wall to a secluded room behind the lobby, an oasis just for them.
Employees and visitors arrive, take a deep breath, pause, and then continue their day. Or maybe, they stop, notice a hidden detail, feel the tranquility of nature around them, and stay in this urban sanctuary for a little bit longer.