Seating islands

Larger lounge area and waiting rooms may be furnished with seating islands. These freestanding, often sculptural objects offer informal seating, but also act as a focal point of the space.

Catherine Le Téo’s and Thierry Blet’s ‘LTB’ seating island system for Haworth embodies this approach. In this system, a number of upholstered linear, as well as curved seating modules, storage modules and backrests can be assembled into the desired shape and configuration. ‘Runway’, designed by busk+hertzog for Globe Zero 4, employs a similar, but a more minimal system, where any given number of upholstered chamfered prisms can be assembled together, forming dynamic compositions.

Bartoli Design creates different composition from thin, upholstered strips that wind through space, such as ‘Highway B’, ‘Highway E’ and ‘Highway N’, all manufactured by Segis. Of course, more classical seating islands are available as well. Karim Rashid’s ‘Koochy | 1014’ by Zanotta is an organically shaped, sculptural, standalone piece of seating furniture. And although Rafa Garcia’s ‘Moon’ for Sancal, and Inclass’s ‘Tetris’ are both modular seating islands, their final, sober forms are held in check by their rigorous, linear geometry.

Even though it would be theoretically possible to make a large, continuous seating island using architect Ben van Berkel’s ‘Circle’, manufactured by Walter Knoll, it is also possible to create archipelagos from its constituent elements. Bartoli Design’s ‘Flores’ for Segis allows just that, since it consists of several smaller seating islands in the same formal language which can be arranged at will. Renowned Japanese Architect Toyo Ito eliminates all elements but one, in his delicate, petal shaped ‘Konoha’ for Sancal. These small benches allow its users to arrange them in space to create desired spatial relationships.

Johannes Foersom’s and Peter Hiort-Lorenzen’s Nest’ for Cane Line and Konstantin Grcic’s ‘Osorom’ for Moroso are both small, transparent seating islands, the former woven from rattan, the latter a hollow, resin-reinforced fibreglass frame. And some designers take the seating island’s name seriously enough to plant a tree in its middle, as is the case in Teun Fleskens’s ‘Chitchat’ for Ghyczy or Jean-Marie Massaud’s ‘Green Islands’ for OFFECCT.

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