Advent Calendar 2014: Day Two

by Steve

Christmas trees in window of office building

My walk from the station to my office takes me through the City of London and I pass a lot of office buildings. Some are grand and imposing, others much less so. Some shabby, some smart.

The same goes for their lobbies. I guess the entrance to a building says a lot about the building itself. Some are lavish, sophisticated, luxuriant. They are decorated with expensive woods, or marble. Some exhibit sculptures, fine art, that sort of thing. These spaces are roomy and elegant, more like a high-end hotel than an office building.

Some entrances are imposing, like the war room in Dr Strangelove. Others are just cavernous, or disproportioned, with a tiny desk swallowed up by a big space, as if they had all this left over and weren’t sure what to do with it.

Others still are cramped, or just functional. With less entrance, there is more floor-space to cash in on.

I like to take a look through the windows, see what channel the flat-screen TVs are tuned in to, what newspapers are fanned across the tables in the waiting area. See what the receptionists are looking at on their monitors. See if the guys in suits on the door look more like bouncers or concierges.

These lobbies are all getting decorated for Christmas. The fancy lobbies seem to be professionally decorated, which sounds like a fun profession. The less fancy lobbies have a plastic tree, probably decorated by the reception team. They both have their charms. The former are like department store displays. The latter show there are actual humans within these uncanny, impersonal spaces.