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Seating guests in style.

Wood & Wood Products' exclusive review of hospitality seating: Stylish chairs that make you sit up and take notice.

Sitting down away from home can be serious business.

In your office, is there one task chair that is not claimed to be ergonomically-correct? Will the chair without lumbar support, knee tilt, automatic forward seat pitch adjustment, three-way-adjustable arms, moulded contours and synchronous movement please step forward? Engineering chairs to ensure healthy backs is big business, and for long-term sitting, the least important feature is style.

In libraries, universities and other institutional settings with budgetary constraints and heavy usage, value and structural strength are the major requisites for seating. Simple, sturdily constructed chairs are favored for educational environments where chairs are used unmercifully. The hard, flat seats used for lectures and other long-term sitting are traditionally the least stylish and user-friendly of all chairs.

When it comes to hospitality settings, however, a chair must have style. Comfort and quality construction, are givens, of course, but the guideline for hospitality chairs is enduring design. In reception areas such as law offices, restaurants and hotel lobbies, chairs for guests imply a welcome. To evoke that frame of mind, designers frequently specify chairs made of wood, selected for its warm, organic feeling, and often built with wrap-around arms to embrace the sitter.

Wood is also the traditional choice for high-end, high-profile designer chairs. New lower prices on these chairs are made possible by cost-effective product engineering and CNC manufacturing. Dakota Jackson Inc. invested in new robotic machinery that added affordability, consistency, durability and speed to production of high-style products for an institutional market. Jackson's series of chairs for the San Francisco Library have frames cut with a five-axis CNC router that provides incredibly precise joints, the designer said.

Timothy deFiebre has designed several lines of wood seating for Geiger Brickel with lower-than-usual price points, also made possible by CNC manufacturing methods. Chair backs that have design details including squares, circles or rectangles cut with CNC routers were introduced at NeoCon 97.

The accompanying photos represent the wide range of hospitality seating available in the contract market. Ergonomics, comfort or the lack of it, or function are not the primary issues here. These are chairs with style. The Pantonic, Handkerchief and Cross Check chairs already have been chosen for museum exhibitions or for display in permanent collections. Undoubtedly, others will also be.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:designing chairs with style
Author:Garet, Barbara
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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