Experimenting with seating design to stay on the cutting edge

This is part two in a series on seating design. Click here for part two: Hotel seating emphasizes creativity and consistency.

While specific details of designing restaurant or banquet seating has changed over the years, Adam Kubryk, director of sales & marketing at Global Allies, a chair supplier, feels that the main challenge remains the same. “How do you provide something both unique and stylish, both high-quality but price competitive, and make it both comfortable and functional?” he asked rhetorically. “A good product may have half of those qualities; the best chairs have all of them.” 

Similarly, Kubryk noted that customers are becoming increasingly demanding and knowledgeable, and have more choices available to them than ever. 

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“Style and comfort will be an expectation, and technological advances such as wireless charging or biometric feedback may result in a new class of ‘smart chairs,’” he said.

Jason Allen, founding partner and owner of Pinnacle South, a design and purchasing company, agreed: “A challenge our designers constantly face is quality.” 

Staying on the cutting edge forces designers to experiment with new products, he added. 

“However, our concern is that some products have not had time to prove their performance in the marketplace,” Allen said. “If we don’t test and evaluate properly, we could potentially specify a product that will not perform up to standards. That’s why we work with proven vendors, why we request samples and why we work to resolve any concerns well before we use products onsite.”

For his part, Scott Schutt, marketing manager for MTS Seating, noted that sustainability and environmental concerns are becoming more important in furniture design and construction. This, he said, will drive how designers do business. 

“Manufacturers who produce in areas of the world that are not as concerned about the environment are going to have a lot tougher time complying with sustainability initiatives,” he said.