Microsoft’s Redwest C Lobby is no ordinary entrance. It is the main conduit to the rest of the company’s headquarters for visitors from around the world and it is the entry to a building housing extremely secure, critical teams. Attuned to the space’s unique, dual public-private functions, our approach to the renovation project is equal parts welcoming, branded, highly secure, and technical.
Serving as most guests first stop for checking in or meeting up, the lobby conveys Microsoft’s global corporate spirit with hospitality-inspired sophistication and nuance. Our design process started with the client’s zone-based program for campus experiences, including areas for picking-up, waiting, and greeting—plus, an extra-level of hospitality. Since visitors of all ages and cultures will pass through, we made these zones universally recognizable and navigable by maintaining clear sightlines and installing flooring patterns and lighting that delineate or lead to different areas.
We took a curated approach to lighting that elevates the relatively small, dark space. The effect is an inviting and safe atmosphere unlike many intimidating or institutional lobbies. While the lobby requires a large reception desk to encompass many functions, base detailing of lifted edges accentuated by concealed lighting along the top and bottom edges make this module feel approachable, graceful, and unimposing. Accessibility features are integrated into the desk’s modern wood and metal design.
During the renovation, we removed obstructive or competing architectural elements from the old lobby. The layout is now organized geometrically and the furniture is low profile, creating airiness and open sightlines. This understated strategy helps guests feel comfortable—they can see the whole room in one glance. Consistently, our aesthetic choices were guided by an interior design concept called “honesty in materials,” which describes the use of exposed, recognizable materials. Sleek metals, woods, and concrete accent the space grounded by charcoal-colored walls and flooring. Of course, integrated technology, like display screens with tour schedules, enhance the lobby’s user-friendliness.
As one would expect from Microsoft’s brand, calm confidence, hospitality, and security imbue the design of Redwest C Lobby. The polished, technical details come together to create beauty and functionality for everyone entering the campus, from executives to fourth graders.