|Using sectioned seating options allow for multiple configurations both indoors and outdoors, enabling hotels to better control the flow of guest interaction.|
Mobile devices and dependency on Wi-Fi have assisted the transformation of hotel lobby areas into areas for guest congregation. Established as a social hub among guests, providing unique and intuitive seating for the hotel lobby is more important than ever.
“Public areas have become multi-functional, and spaces need to be designed to allow guests to wait, have small gatherings or hold a casual business meeting,” said Jennifer McCord of Partners by Design, a designer for Cabot Wrenn and Council. McCord emphasizes flexible furniture that retains the design aesthetic of an interesting gathering space.
The lobby is also being used as a venue for the hotel to show off its design offerings to the guest, with seating contributing to the end result. Contemporary styles with clean lines, deep seats and simple decorative elements are still in vogue for the hotel industry, with emphasis on ergonomics reserved primarily for guestroom and meeting room chairs. The need to deliver a “wow” factor also frequently results in the use of bright, attention-grabbing colors.
“Bright colors are still winning out in lobby design,” McCord said. “However, we are eventually going to see brighter colors being mixed with more natural tones.”
“The lobby of today is designed to encourage gathering and conversation, giving guests the opportunity to spend more time in a common area before retreating to their rooms,” said Sheree Moore, strategic account manager at Brigadoon Furniture. “Designers are looking to provide seating options that primarily encourage gathering and conversation.”
|Lobby seating that is mixed with dining options often emphasizes group experiences. Pictured below is the Marriott Irvine, Calif.|
“Because of the lounge look becoming common in lobbies, a space with tables isn’t as necessary as it used to be,” said Vlad Spivak, CEO of Modern Line Furniture. “Guests are now using smaller devices such as phones or tablets, and even laptops are more commonly used on the lap than on a table. It goes to show that guests are not as attached to the table.”
Elements that spark conversation and interaction can also be conveyed through the layout, number and position of lobby seating options. Communal seating in a circle around a large table with a multitude of seating options can prompt guest discussion, and is often used in lobbies that are merged with a hotel’s breakfast or casual dining services.
“Travelers are often in a hurry,” Spivak said. “It’s important that your statement be immediate. People rarely have time to take in the hotel when they are traveling to and from their room, but if you present to them something attractive they will gravitate to it.”