Studio Four Design worked with Newport Utilities’ (NU) to realize their vision for an updated and technologically advanced lobby of its corporate building in Newport, TN. The utility company, which provides electric, water and wastewater services to citizens and businesses of Cocke County, TN, and surrounding areas, desired a new customer-focused interactive entrance area with an emphasis on Newport Utilities’ new offering of premise fiber optic cable broadband services. To achieve the look, it was decided to use quartz surfacing for the reception countertops.

“The vision for this project was to improve the customer experience of visitors to our facility as we introduce fiber-optic broadband services to our community,” said Glenn Ray, general manager for Newport Utilities. “We were looking for a new innovative way to interact with our customers, and Studio Four Design delivered that for us. The new high-tech lobby is engaging for our visitors and has freed up our customer service team to handle billing, utility service and outage issues. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Studio Four Design’s philosophy behind the design was to create a warm and enticing environment for utility customers as they enter the building, introduce interactive kiosks to visitors and permit customer service team members to focus more attention on patrons who have billing or outage questions. 

“The lobby space was outdated and underutilized,” said Stacy Cox president of Studio Four Design, which is based in Knoxville, TN. “It was simply a space where people entered the building and quickly moved on to another space within the building. The purpose of the redesign was to engage the existing lobby space to be more useful for NU’s customers. The underutilized space is now being used to engage customers and display the new and upcoming technology abilities of NU.”

Materials chosen to bring the commercial space to life possess not only the sought-after aesthetic qualities, but also strength and durability. “The materials were selected in order to show a cleaner, more up-to-date space, as well as durable and functional,” explained Cox. “We knew we wanted quartz countertops from the beginning.”

According to Cox, there was a harmonious working relationship between NU and the design team. “The client was fantastic, and listened to our suggestions,” she said. “They were involved, but also allowed us to make suggestions based on our experience in other similar projects.”

The reception countertops were fabricated from Wilsonart quartz surfacing in the color “Q3011 Galileo.” “The main reason for choosing the quartz was for its durability, and the color palette went really well with the rest of the finishes we had selected,” said Cox, adding that it was a one-month period to select all of the materials for the redesign.

Before starting a renovation project such as this, Cox and her design team had to take into account factors such as existing and end use of the space, keeping the space functional during construction, the client’s budget, the future impact for the end user and material durability. “The quick timeline and the need to keep the space open to the public during construction,” Cox cited as the most challenging aspects of the renovation project.

Among the focal points of NU’s new lobby is an interactive television display that will be used for customer demonstrations and learning. A set of four television screens work together to form a large touch-screen surface, and with the addition of a controller, can also work independently to display multiple messages. 

Additionally, two customer service workstations will provide a place for customer service representatives to complete customer orders. The new quartz countertops provide enough space to accommodate displays and product brochures, and are also a comfortable height for resting one’s arms. The area has sufficient storage cabinets and shelves to keep a convenient inventory of supplies to facilitate customer/agent interaction. 

And finally, the lobby redesign includes a promotional display area – complete with a large screen television adjacent to the interactive television that provides an appealing display for videos, presentations or programming content for customer service and marketing purposes. 

From start of design to construction completion, the project took approximately six months.

“The interior design of any business or facility has a major impact on the customer experience of visitors and how employees interact with customers,” said Cox. “So when it comes to running a successful business, the design of your building and the interior space really matter. Our focus was on achieving the primary objectives of Newport Utilities through the creative and thoughtful design of its lobby area. The owner seems very pleased with the end result. I think the feedback from the customers has been very positive, as well.”  cstd

The design team at Studio Four Design in Knoxville, TN, created an engaging lobby space for Newport Utilities with contemporary and durable materials, including Wilsonart quartz surfacing countertops in the color “Q3011 Galileo.”

The primary reason for choosing quartz for the reception countertops was for its durability and the color palette complemented the rest of the finishes that were selected.

The new quartz countertops provide enough space to accommodate displays and product brochures, and are also a comfortable height for resting one’s arms.