Conference hall seating furnishes large auditoriums and lecture halls, providing its users with a comfortable seating experience. There is a relatively large overlap with performance space seating, as both need to accommodate large amounts of people. The chief difference is a more active participation in a conference, which means tray tables are a necessary addition to conference hall seating, allowing participants to take notes.
‘Mac T Armchair’ designed in 1976 by Marcello Cuneo for ARFLEX, is in many ways a classic conference hall seat; upholstered in fabric, with a folding seat and a swivel-out table integrated in one of its armrests. It should be noted that the upholstering on conference hall seating is meant to improve acoustics as well as provide the sitter with additional comfort.
Most conference hall seating systems follow this basic typology, the form of the seat being the most distinguishing factor. For example, alegreindustrial™-designed ‘Audit’ for ACTIU is a more cubic, sober conference hall seat, whereas Åke Axelsson’s ‘Zen Auditorium’ seating for Garnsäs has a more organic shape, recalling mid-century modern design.
Sergei and Oscar Devesa’s ‘Marlene’ conference hall seating for Forma is notable for its expressive metal supports, while Giovanni Baccolini’s ‘Genesis’ for Ares Line has an organic, ergonomically curved seat, whose back is covered by a sheet of moulded plywood. Other products stemming from this fruitful collaboration are ‘Eidos Wood’ and ‘Metropolitan’ conference hall seats, whose main difference with the aforementioned designs is the fact that the small table is now a folding tray attached to the back of the seat.
Another one of Baccolini’s designs, ‘Thesi’ conference hall seating, offers another alternative: the desktop becomes the most prominent, fixed element, and the seats are attached to its supports instead. Lastly, Massimo and Lella Vignelli’s ‘Handkerchief Chair’, manufactured by Knoll International, an elegant, steel rod chair with a plywood, upholstered seat, can be used as additional, flexible conference hall seating.