How high-tech design is influencing task furniture

This is part two in a series on task furniture design. Click here for part one: How task furniture is staying ahead of the curve.

The ever-growing trend of people traveling with a wide range of electronic devices has forced hotels to implement plugs and ports throughout guestrooms—but especially around work areas. “They have to be integrated into the furniture,” said Carleton Woodring, project manager at Biscayne Hospitality. “They’re almost as important as the furniture itself.” 

“Today’s options for outlets are incredibly plentiful,” said Astoria Compass VP Jenny Vance. “I know of certain vendors who will match wallpaper or custom colors, which allows the manufacturer to disguise the utilitarian component of the design.” 

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But when it comes to designing task furniture with electrical components, Vance believes that simple is best. “I would prefer the design incorporates more tech-savvy elements rather than spending the extra money on an expensive stone top or stainless steel base,” she said. “Technology changes so quickly that it is the first thing that becomes outdated. If you spend your entire budget on an over-the-top design, owners will be reluctant to change the piece out as it becomes dated.” 

“Sometimes you need to spend a little bit more money to find faceplates that are flat and austere in brushed nickel,” Woodring said. “In classic hotels, you see antique or polished brass.” The most important thing, he noted, is that the plugs and ports must be immediately visible for the guests. “It must be in plain view, otherwise, it’s not a service to the customer,” he said. “It’s such a simple way to add value to furniture and the room experience.” 

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McKibbon Hospitality manages the 200-room Hyatt House Chicago/West Loop-Fulton Market.