Meetings and seating evolve with technology

This is part two in a series on hospitality seating design. Click here for part one: Hotel seating designers focus on comfort.

In traditional meeting rooms, the biggest new change to design is a result of the increased emphasis on electrical outlet placement. According to Adam Kubryk, director of sales and marketing for Global Allies, hotels are looking for a seating setup that takes outlets into account (think closeby), while allowing the room to be configured properly for video calls and digital projections.

“Technology is changing how these rooms are used, and therefore designed,” Kubryk said. “For task chair design, that means being able to use the room differently, so more priority [is] on movement and shape.”

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Seating selection for meeting rooms is dependent on the room’s layout, according to John Hamilton, design director for Coalesse. Designers are working on predicting how guests will be using a space and developing seating options to fit those needs.

“Guests almost always have a briefcase for meetings, or need an outlet to charge devices, and designers need to think about those needs for positioning,” Hamilton said. “Is there a place for your things? Positioning is about protocols.”

Some seating comes with these options built directly into them, such as small tables for sharing content on laptops. But these needs are presenting a challenge to designers, who don’t want to make a piece too complicated.

“You can design an amazing thing, but if your intent is not conveyed to the guest and they don’t understand how to use it then it is all for naught,” Hamilton said. “When a hotel pulls it off, however, the guest will remember it, and that is a competitive advantage.”