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Sygrove Design, Marilyn Sygrove, Concierge Desk Design, Lobby Interior Design, Briar Oaks - Concierge Desk

The Importance of a Well-Designed Concierge Desk and Station

When you live in New York City you constantly interact with doormen and concierges as you go through your day. So, when the lobby of the building you live in is inefficient, out of date, or downright drab, it has a less than joyful impact on your life. Many lobbies simply need some TLC. Some don’t fit into the architectural character of the neighborhood or even the building itself. And sometimes decisions were made during a past lobby renovation that haven’t stood the test of time.

A happy staff makes for a happy building and with that in mind, concierge desk design is an important part of what we do as part of the lobby renovation projects we take on. Residents, their guests, and the entire building staff all benefit from thoughtful lobby interior design.

We work on lobby interior design projects in New York City that include concierge desk design. Here are some examples.

6 Concierge Desk Design
Examples We’re Proud Of:

1) 300 Riverside Drive, Manhattan

The best way to describe this lobby is “drop dead gorgeous”. However, when we first encountered it we were met by what can only be described as a dungeon. Although much of the incredible coffered ceiling, diamond patterned flooring, and Bottocino marble walls were still intact – they were hardly noticeable through the accumulated dirt and grime of past decades. Some of the tiles and architectural details were broken or missing, but there was enough in good shape that we could maintain the rich 1920’s look and feel, on which the residents insisted. And I don’t blame them. When you’re lucky enough to live in such a gem you want to celebrate it.

My team and I painstakingly considered every inch of this lobby, from ceiling to floor. The concierge desk design was inspired by one of the original pieces of lobby furniture – a console table with carved turning legs. The new desk has all the technology needed to run a modern building, yet perfectly complements the incredible architectural details of the lobby.

We are particularly proud of this project, as are the residents who enjoy it every day.

NYC Concierge Deskn Designer

2) Briar Oaks, Riverdale

In the 1950’s New York City was experiencing a housing crisis. Newly returned GI’s were getting married by the thousands and those young couples needed apartments. Riverdale, a residential enclave in the Bronx with low population density, was a perfect spot for developers to take advantage of the demand. A building boom of high-rise apartment buildings was the result. Unfortunately, many of the structures erected during that era lack the kind of architectural detail we see in older New York neighborhoods. The lobbies, however, are often large, bright, and sometimes contain finishes that just need some TLC to bring out their luxurious character. Briar Oaks, built in 1953, has one such lobby.

The first thing I noticed about Briar Oak’s lobby was its elegant zigzag terrazzo flooring. It was definitely worth saving and was the most interesting feature. Everything we chose thereafter complements and enhances that spectacular floor – from the rich wood paneling to the luscious stone accents. The concierge desk design includes a gracefully proportioned stone top and a highly textured backdrop. The backdrop is like a piece of artwork that makes a striking contrast with the smooth and geometric lines of the floor.

The Briar Oaks lobby is truly an example of how carefully selected finishes can transform blah and boring into chic and elegant.


3) The Ellington, Manhattan

Built in 1987, The Ellington is a remarkably handsome red brick residential building that features clean, spare lines and upscale finishes. The Ellington has both a doorman station and a concierge desk, which is common in New York’s newer large apartment buildings. (The Ellington has 214 units.)

The challenge for my team was to create an elegant lobby at the same time ensure that both desk areas would hold up to the extreme wear and tear that’s common in such a large, busy building. One way we met that challenge was to source incredibly resilient materials that are at the same time elegant and luxurious. Once such material is Aquasol, a gorgeous, natural, pewter-colored stone known for its durability. We used Aquasol for both the concierge desk design and the doorman station. It will endure many years of rough treatment by strollers, shopping carts, and UPS hand trucks and still look great.

Concierge Desk Design












4) 50 Park Avenue, Manhattan

It was love at first sight when I walked into this lobby. It’s very unusual for a 1940’s building to have so much original wood paneling still intact. But sadly, the paneling was finished in an outdated deep red mahogany, which made the lobby feel dark and foreboding. There was no concierge desk, either. Instead, the staff used a cheesy podium, which had been purchased years earlier at an office furniture store!

Our job was to transform the lobby into a brighter, more inviting space and at the same time retain as much of the original wood paneling as we could. First, we had the dark finish stripped off to let the scrumptious beauty of the natural wood emerge. For the concierge desk design we chose a wood veneer that perfectly matches the golden hue and rich textures of the walls. It fits in so well it looks as if was original.

Today, the residents 50 Park (and their guests) are greeted by this warmth and richness every time they enter the building. They just love it!

Concierge-desk-designer-NYC5) 123 East 75th St., Manhattan

123 East 75th is a post-war building surrounded by Park Avenue pre-war buildings in the silk stocking district of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. We designed a new, period-inspired limestone and granite façade to give the building to better fit into the neighborhood. The owners wanted the lobby to be a continuation of that feeling. In order to make it happen, we chose rich walnut veneer and geometric lines for the lobby and concierge desk design. The result is harmony with the entrance and with the neighborhood – yet it has a clean and modern appearance.


6) The Bel Air, Forest Hills, Queens

The dramatic sweeping curved lines effect of this spectacular 1965 apartment building in Queens reflects the space-age architecture of the 1964 World’s Fair. To stay true to it’s “less is more” character we made sure that the lobby remained a delightfully effortless transition from the street into the living space. We created a concierge desk design that accommodates all the new equipment the staff needs to keep the building running efficiently: Monitors, keyboard, alarms, intercom…the works! Yet it looks as if it’s always been there.

Those are just a few examples where thoughtful concierge desk design enables New York City apartment dwellers to enjoy the benefits of an elegant and well functioning lobby. You can view more photographs of our lobby interior design projects here.


Thanks for reading.

Marilyn Sygrove

3 NYC Lobby Renovations That Perfectly Reflect The Building Architecture

Just as the vibrant colors of spring blossoms give way to the lush greenery of summer, architectural design trends fade in and out of popularity – and New York City has examples of nearly every single one.

From the building boom of the 1890’s continuing into the modern day, the Big Apple has always been a bustling cacophony of architectural wonder. Apartment building residents are more conscious of the architecture around them. Today, NYC lobby renovations more and more involve staying true to the building’s architecture.

It’s disconcerting to walk into a traditional 1920’s apartment building and be confronted with an ultra-modern lobby, wouldn’t you agree? Therefore, in addition to everything that we are on top of to ensure the residents’ convenience, the needs of the staff, and comply with all the complex New York City building requirements, we also focus on the architectural style of the building when we plan our lobby renovations.

Successfully and seamlessly incorporating the needs of modern urban life into a lobby of a building that was built decades, or a hundred years ago, is the kind of challenge we thrive on.  And we’ve had tons of experience doing it.

To illustrate what I mean, here are three of our NYC lobby renovations projects. They illustrate how we make the connection between the architectural style of a building – and the needs of modern city life:


  1. Architectural Style: Mid-Century Modern Design

    The Mid-Century Modern trend can be spotted all over New York City. Think Mad Men and white bricks, and you know what it is. To make this lobby harmonize with the building’s exterior but feel more current we incorporated midcentury modern shapes and angles into all the furnishings then chose a lovely color palette of grey-blues, lavenders, and soft burgundies. It is a much more welcoming experience than the original lobby with its dark burgundies, oranges, olives, and teals.


  1. Architectural Style: Modern/Moderne

    This post World War ll architectural style marks a distinct departure from the fussy traditional buildings of earlier decades. We loved the drama of this spectacular apartment building in Forest Hills, Queens with its sweeping, curved lines. But the lobby was downright depressing.

    We wanted to stay true to the “less is more” character of the architecture so the lobby provides residents and visitors a delightfully smooth transition from the street into the living space. We preserved the open feeling and took it a step further by using more metal than in the original décor and choosing materials that help preserve the excitement of the architecture but with a more welcoming – and less ‘outer spacey’ – feeling.

  2. Architectural Style: 1920’s Traditional

    Residents who live in pre-war buildings love that pre-war feel. We often hear, “We bought into this building because it is so exquisitely detailed and we don’t want to lose that.” So, when approaching NYC lobby renovations in 1920’s traditional buildings, we salvage everything we can of the original details – then add our secret sauce so it will function well in the 21st In this example, we restored the coffered ceiling and replicated the original patterned tile flooring.

    Then, by using clever solutions we added all the necessities of a modern lobby. For color, we traded the traditional original palette of burgundies and hunter greens for blacks, charcoal greys, camels, and navies.

For every NYC lobby renovations project we take on, our mission is to ensure the residents and building staff have everything they need for today’s urban lifestyle. But staying true to the architectural expression of each building is also the trademark of our work. We are honored to be chosen so often to work on wonderful lobby interior design projects like these in the New York metropolitan area.

Ready to update your building’s tired old lobby? Please call us at 212-757-0631 for a