Multipurpose seating systems

Cultural centres and convention venues have to be increasingly multifunctional to maximise the use of their space. The architects and designers thus focus on providing flexible spaces, which are furnished with multipurpose seating systems, in order to ensure that a film screening can be followed by a lecture, or a concert, without a complete overhaul of the space.

Most multipurpose seating systems fall into a familiar typology of large, modular, upholstered armchairs, often mounted on a steel base. The seat itself can often fold, thus creating enough space for gangways between the rows. Additionally, many multipurpose seating systems can be specified with a small, often folding desk, which can be used to take notes during lectures and conferences.

The most distinguishing aspect is therefore the form of these seats. ACTIU-manufactured ‘Audit’ multipurpose seating system, designed by algreindustrial™, is an angular design upholstered in colourful fabric, with a tray that can fold into one of its armrests; whereas Jean Nouvel’s ‘13108 Lyon’ for FIGUERAS has gentle curves, and instead of resting on a metal foot, its seat is supported by its elongated armrests, in which the tray desks are integrated.

Bartoli Design’s ‘Tulip’ for Lamm is a more organically sculptural multipurpose seating system, whose silhouette resembles a tulip flower. The tray table folds beside the armrest, and not into it like in the previously mentioned designs. Dante Bonuccelli’s ‘Genya’, also for Lamm, is as different as can be; a sober multipurpose seating system that folds into a minimal, slanted prism, the tray is attached to the back of the seat.

Faruk Malhan’s ‘Äelebi’ for Koleksiyon consists of a steel frame, with plastic folding seats attached to the front, while a narrow, stationery desk is attached at the back. Additionally, there is a small, metal shelf underneath this desktop, which proves especially useful during lectures and seminars. FIGUERAS’s ‘630 Tulipa’ is a wholly different multipurpose seating system, which consists of freestanding, upholstered, stackable, tubular steel chairs with a folding seat. This allows for fast assembly, disassembly, storage and transport, which has a positive effect on adaptability and multifunctionality.

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