Hotel guests enjoy the feeling of familiarity when traveling between hotels in the same brand. While hotel brands know that, some properties are arranging their furniture in unique ways in order to stand out from one another. This includes public seating in lobbies, meeting spaces and even F&B.
Mark Goetz, designer for Cabot Wrenn, a manufacturer of business furniture, says that designing for hotels has shifted away from the desire to create one seating product with the intention of repeating it throughout a property or chain.
“[Seating design] is now about mixing different design elements to create an eclectic look that can corral different types of audiences together,” Goetz said.
By using more interesting designs, hotels can create interesting areas of their property in order to capitalize on the social aspect of the property and draw guests in. This goes not only for the main public areas, but also for smaller seating areas in guestroom hallways.
“People want to see those alcoves or spaces in front of the elevator being used rather than just being a decorative space,” Goetz said. “Maximize the usage of a space!”
Pictured: Chairs will tall backs can create a feeling of privacy, and seating should be angled to cater to natural sightlines.
“Open areas in public spaces have to place a lot of importance on style and functionality,” said Vlad Spivak, co-founder and CEO of Modern Line Furniture. Spivak recommends more curved styles with tall backs to create a closed bubble of atmosphere in a public space, but suggests tall-backed straight, armless chairs for meeting spaces.
“There are no more ‘tight back’ chairs that make you feel like you’re at a doctor’s office,” said Terrance Hunt, a designer for seating design firm Councill Contract. Hunt suggests using seating designs in hotel lobbies that are residential and more akin to something a guest would have in their own home. By doing this, hotels can convey a feeling of “home away from home” by translating residential designs into a hotel environment. This means contemporary, clean-lined pieces are still the most appealing for guests.
“It’s important to design furniture that will transcend trends and maintain a classic element for decades to come,” Hunt said.