Grey is Gone in '24

Grey is Gone in '24

Grey is Gone in '24

Fresh Trends in Common Area Design

A new year always comes with reports of new trends in everything, be it fashion, food…or lobby and common area design in residential communities. Furnishings and design, like clothes, are the subject of style and vogue that morph and change from season to season and year to year. When it comes to common areas, trends cover everything from paint colors to fabric choices to how a space is laid out. So what’s coming in 2024?

COVID is “Over”

While cases of covid are still cropping up, and masking and other public health measures remain visible in many places, like the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic a century ago, people are moving forward from the dark days of the more recent global health crisis.

Perhaps the most prominent trend in lobby design this coming year is that finally after almost four years, covid is no longer the driving force in decision-making for co-op, condo, and HOA boards in terms of evaluating, redesigning, and using their common spaces, including lobbies, amenity spaces, and club houses.

“We were living in isolation since March 2020,” says Marilyn Sygrove, the principal of Sygrove Associates Design Group, a design firm located in Manhattan with clients throughout New York and New Jersey. “During the pandemic, seating was ripped out or lobbies, protective screens went up between staff and residents and guests. There was no gym usage. Everything was cleaned constantly. All that’s gone now. We are back to normal as if it never happened.”

“People of tired of the whole pandemic thing,” says Sygrove. “They don’t want to remember it. They want to go back to a communal feel. Lobbies are becoming more multi-purpose. Boards and committees are asking me to carve out areas where they can have a meeting space for instance, with a broker or a contractor. They want a space in the lobby for that type of thing.” Another factor is personal security.” Many single people who live alone “would rather have a safe space to meet in the lobby, rather than take people they don’t know into their homes.”

Color Palette Trends

A major factor in redesigning lobby spaces is color. Traditionally, neutral tones were the standard choice. (Think hotel lobby.) That’s still true to some extent, but with some refinements for 2024.

Sygrove gives us a more rounded view of the overall situation. Trends are for new buildings, she explains; existing boards tend to be more cautious when making changes. “They don’t want to offend or overstate,” she says, “so, trends are not really in the language for us. With that said, gray is gone. People are sick of it. There are a thousand kinds of white, and that’s usually what a board will choose. When I started many years ago, green – particularly forest green – was a good color for lobbies. Today’s green has some gray in it to tone it down, so it’s not offensive to anyone. It’s become the ‘new grey.’ There are other interesting colors like deep eggplant that are also popular as accents.”

“Use of color also has to do with how the lobby is laid out,” Sygrove continues. “Walls and floors still command a more neutral palette with color introduced by seating accessories and artwork that can be easily switched out. This way you can refresh a space more frequently. You don’t need to replace everything, just the seating, accessories, artwork etc. There is also a trend to more organic and plant based materials in seat and floor covering.”

A Sense of Place

“For accents, I mostly depend on the history and vintage of the building and its surroundings,” says Sygrove. “Is the building near water, for instance? In that case, the residents will often want to incorporate blues. This approach gives a sense of place. If we are near a park, I’ll suggest greens and browns, and autumnal colors too, like reds and oranges. The goal is to give the building a personality.” In an age of cookie-cutter glass-and-metal architecture, establishing that personality and point of view not only appeals to current residents, but to prospective buyers as well.

Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?

One must assume that any time a board hires a designer they have vetted them entirely relative to their work, performance, etc. But what if the board has some very set ideas about its design future that the designer doesn’t see as the optimal choice? Maybe they’re still stuck on forest green? “The idea of trust comes into play with hiring professionals,” says Sygrove. “If a building’s board or design committee wants something I think is over the top, I tell them – but ultimately, the decision is theirs. I do what they want, but I hope they will take advantage of my years of experience.”

(This article was originally published on CooperatorNews.com.)

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years. Her firm will help you achieve consensus with everyone involved from the Board, building management, and residents.

You can reach Marilyn by email at hello@sygrove.com or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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Midtown East Hallway Design, NYC

Elegant Lighting In The Era Of Local Law 97

Decades ago, as I was meandering through Europe’s charming streets, I entered a building whose dark hallway suddenly burst into light the second I moved an inch. This was my first encounter with Europe’s well-known energy prudence. Tiny compact cars whizzed by, a nod to the steep gas prices, but it was the hallways that offered me a true masterclass in energy conservation. Using light sensors and motion the buildings ensured that precious energy was spent only when it mattered most.

Fast forward to today’s New York City, where Local Law 97 will mandate that all large residential buildings install energy-efficient lighting throughout their common areas. This extends to stairwells, laundry rooms, storage spaces, and the very heart of our expertise—hallways and lobbies. Motion sensor lighting, which springs to life at the slightest movement, is at the forefront of this transition. It outshines traditional LED bulbs by significantly reducing energy consumption which can reduce bills by 25%.

In our role as interior designers with a specialty in condo and co-op lobbies and hallways, our goal has always been to find the most beautiful and innovative solutions for our client. We’ve been at the forefront of energy efficiency for many years creating not only visually stunning spaces but also ones that offer cost savings to our clients wherever possible.

Creating Beautiful & Energy-Efficient Lighting

After scouring the market looking for light fixtures that contained energy efficient features and were up to our design and quality standards and finding none, we realized we had to take matters into our own hands. For us, lighting is a pivotal element in spaces, not just a supplementary adornment. We wanted to meld design with the principle of energy conservation. So we ventured into the realm of custom, energy-efficient lighting solutions that were visually elegant and functionally efficient.

Today we partner with vendors skilled in fitting the high-end fixtures we find in the market with state-of-the-art motion-sensor technology. When existing market options don’t meet our standards, we work with them to create bespoke fixtures from our custom designs. Each one is calibrated to ensure that spaces with frequent traffic are bathed in light, while quieter areas are touched with a softer glow, thereby optimizing both ambiance and energy use.

Here are some examples:

1920s Charm Meets Modern Energy Solutions

Art Deco Elegance on the East River

On the Upper West Side, we encountered a distinctive challenge: the redesign of the classic 1920s building’s hallways while preserving the original sconces. The residents cherished the sconces which were not only beautiful, but held historic significance. This was before Local Law 97 came into play, yet the building’s board was already cognizant of the benefits of energy conservation and cost savings.

Our innovative solution involved a synergy with one of our trusted lighting vendors known for having expertise in out- of-the-box thinking. They carefully integrated discreet occupancy sensors into the existing sconces and fine-tuned them to detect movement and activate the lights only when necessary.

This allowed our clients to retain the charm of their beloved sconces while significantly cutting down on the building’s energy usage. It’s a prime example of
proactive compliance, well ahead of the curve in meeting the standards set by Local Law 97.

Brutalism with a Touch of Light

As part of an Upper East Side project, we were tasked with re-envisioning the common areas of a unique building that stands as a testament to the Brutalist era, popular from the 1950s to the 1970s. Brutalism emphasizes the raw beauty of man-made building materials such as concrete block and glass. Often misunderstood by its “mean-sounding name, the style celebrates the unadorned essence of form and texture.

The original fixtures of this architectural marvel had been removed during an earlier renovation and not loved by the residents. Our challenge was to start anew, to create a lighting design that felt inherently light yet reflected the bold geometry of the structure. In collaboration with our trusted vendor, we designed a square fixture that complements the building’s Brutalist style and is fitted with motion sensors to increase energy efficiency and therefore, save money.

Design Note: Aligning square fixtures can be particularly challenging, as they demand visual symmetry with walls that are rarely perfectly straight. To overcome this, we utilized a mix of black and gold finishes with universal mounting plates, ensuring a flawlessly aligned appearance upon installation.

Art Deco Elegance on the East River

Midtown East Hallway Design, NYC
1920s Charm Meets Modern Energy Solutions

Moving into Midtown, our creativity was summoned by an Art Deco gem beside the East River. Here, the hallways whispered tales from the 1930s—a time of cinematic glamor, epitomized by the likes of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and their opulent, crystal-lit set designs.

Drawing inspiration from this bygone era, we embarked on a journey to capture its essence through lighting. Our research led us to a round pendant fixture adorned with a halo of crystal bars, an homage to the era’s splendor. These exquisite fixtures now cast a dance of light across the once somber hallways, reflecting off ceilings, walls, and the preserved terrazzo floors, infusing life and luminance into every corner.

Uniting Aesthetics With Local Law 97

As a firm, we are committed to a harmonious blend of beauty, form, function and energy conservation. As Local Law 97 reshapes the landscape of New York City’s sustainability standards, part of our mission is to guide our clients through these changes with ease.

We take pride in providing innovative lighting solutions that not only illuminate spaces but helps buildings meet be ahead of the curve. If there’s a lobby or hallway renovation in your building’s future, consider getting the process started now so you’ll be way ahead when the deadlines for Local Law 97 approach.

Want to discuss your project? Feel free to reach out to me at 212.757.0631 or Marilyn.Sygrove@sygrove.com

To learn more about Local Law 97 and how your building’s common areas will be affected, click here

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years. Her firm will help you achieve consensus with everyone involved from the Board, building management, and residents.

You can reach Marilyn by email at hello@sygrove.com or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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