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A musical ch-airs first for the Sage.

Byline: By Linda Richards

The finishing touches are being put to Gateshead's pounds 70m Sage Music Centre ( with air conditioned chairs.

These are what visitors will sit on to see performances at The Sage, opening in two weeks.

The customised chairs are a special feature of the pounds 70m Sir Norman Foster designed building and are what the 2,100 people who come to see local and international performers, from Northumbria small pipes player Kathryn Tickell to super star Sting, will sit on.

Developed by Spanish company, Figueras International, the seats are designed to top acoustic and comfort standards.

Arup Acoustics and architects Foster and Partners were given the brief to come up with a chair that would reflect and scatter sound energy and ensure that the music in the building sounds bright and clear.

Each seat in Hall One has its own air conditioning system ( a perforated pedestal base through which air is circulated. No fans are used as they could affect the acoustics.

Made from ash wood, the seats' light colour matches the rest of the hall's interior and depending on which hall you are seated in you will have a slightly different experience.

Chairs in the 400-seater Hall Two are customised to complement the distinctive ten-sided space. And depending on the type of performance you go to see the seat will differ from retractable seats to fixed and loose seats with a range of back angles, featuring a fabric designed to fit in with the dark red timber interior.

As well the two concert rooms, the building has a 25-room music education centre, a recording studio, a music information centre, one rehearsal space, an entertainment suite, five bars, a cafA, and a brasserie, all linked by a spectacular glazed concourse designed for informal music-making.

The Sage is expected to have an annual turnover of pounds 12m, employing 800 people and delivering around 420 performances each year. More than 600,000 people are expected to use the building each year with an anticipated one million visitors in 2005.

The opening weekend will include performances by the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra, based at the Sage and Kathryn Tickell and a galaxy of other music stars.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 4, 2004
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