Designer Alain Gilles Dishes on What Makes the Modern Lounge
The lounge is so much more than a place to sit and wait in today’s busy world. As the boundaries between design sectors continue to blur, these intermediate spaces become more important than ever to define. Designer Alain Gilles, whose design for BuzziSpark won an Interior Design Best of Year award, tells us how he approaches designing for the modern lounge area.
What should a lounge look like?
Alain Gilles: For me, a lounge space is an area in a company or hotel building where you will only spend
a fraction of your day. I tend to compare it to that moment of the day when you take a break
and have a coffee. It has to be an experience that recharges you and makes you feel good for
the rest of the day. When I design a lounge, I want to create a relaxing experience that has a
different atmosphere from the rest of the building.
How did lounges evolve in companies, hotels, etc…?
AG: Over the last decade, lounge areas have evolved from being dull waiting areas to warm, welcoming space. They are now a way for companies to show that they care about people, customers as well as employees. It is also a way to define the image of a company or brand and stand out from the competition. As a result, boring waiting areas are disappearing, and being replaced by more dynamic, multifunctional spaces. These will function as personal workspaces, informal meeting rooms, places to take a break or to eat and relax, and sometimes even as waiting rooms! Thanks to the diverse functions they offer, they can be used all day long and improve the overall experience for everyone. For instance, hotel lobbies have now become a mix of co-working areas and lounge areas to chill and enjoy a drink or snack.
What is the philosophy of BuzziSpark designed as a lounge solution?
AG: BuzziSpark was designed with the idea of
lounging in mind, but also for exchanging ideas
with your colleagues. Moreover, it is also an
architectural piece. It has a great flexibility that
can offer a lot of possibilities to architects when
they are designing their own spaces. The shields,
the side panels on the sofa, can be placed in
different directions to create a protection at
different heights. So, one could use BuzziSpark
with two shields on one side to create a loveseat,
or with two shields in opposite directions. Using
different models of BuzziSpark in a room can
create an unexpected dynamic structure.
Do you have particular lounges in mind when you design products?
AG: It all depends on what you want to achieve in
the space. I believe that society, and the work
environment in general, have evolved enough in
the last ten years to be able to offer a cushion
and a comfortable sofa. People don’t
necessarily have to sit straight and they can
indulge a little more without feeling guilty. With
BuzziSpark, I want people to feel like they are in
a little cocoon that’s warm and comfortable, just
like a big, bulky sofa that people dive into when
watching television or surf on their tablets. And
don’t forget to add that right spark of light that
makes you feel at home. BuzziHat is the perfect
solution for this. It combines a great light output,
good noise reducing capabilities and a fun
design. It has character and personality and can
be easily combined with other furniture pieces in