We like the finished and organized look and feel of built-in seating. If you have ever entered a room after a large meeting and experienced the chair jumble that resembles a room hurriedly evacuated by a fire alarm you'll understand what we mean.The main questions we hear from our designers regarding supplemental seating in larger boardrooms, team or conference rooms are 1. Why would we not just purchase additional conference style seating to position around the perimeter? 2. It looks nice, but isn't it expensive? 3. Is it comfortable enough for a 2-4 hour meeting? Here are our thoughts on the subject.
Fixed or Banquette Seating as an alternative
In special or formal rooms, fixed seating always looks organized, neat and inviting. We mostly see this solution positioned against the glass or wall opposite the door especially down the long wall of the room. This type seating always presents a good look to a viewer when first entering the room, it is often inviting enough to take a seat and enjoy the view before starting the meeting. Many designers think about additional chairs so they can be pulled up to the table as well, but due to budget limitations, many times those chairs are not castered, and are not fully ergonomic with tilt swivel and roll feathers, so they are expensive and not always the best solution. Rather than crowd support staff at the table we think a comfortable banquette is a terrific alternative and an easy way to organize the chaos of side seating.
Cost Parameters of Banquette Seating
While there is a lot of subjectivity on this topic, the facts are that if the room is a special or formal room like a Main Conference Room or a Board Room, the Conference chairs each should be in the $1,000 - $1,500 each range in an appropriate leather finish one would expect to see in this level of room. If side seating is properly specified similar if not identical to the same seating, and you can seat 2 every 5' (30" allowed per chair), then side seating runs between $2,000 to $3,000 per 5' section, very similar in cost to built in banquette seating. The difference is that a banquette is like a long sofa where in a pinch it is possible to seat 5 people in 10 feet without robbing adjacent rooms of seating, so there is additional flexibility that you can enjoy. Banquettes properly designed may also feature small intervening or end tables for refreshments, with wall outlets to keep laptops and devices up and running.
In all appearances a banquette looks alot like a sofa, but appearance is where the similarities stop. Seat height and firmness should allow a more vertical seat in a business like position, similar to a conference table, and a firm back with a 7 degree slope and purposeful height allow for arm resting position and keeps visitors comfortable. It is not intended to be lounge seating for slumping or reclining. Once your client experiences this look and feel they understand the utility and the benefit their designer has provided. The combination of seat and back height and slope make it very easy to sit up or stand up from the seated position to join any discussion.
Acacia Originals has been building quality custom corporate furniture solutions for 25 years. We pride ourselves on using our experience to bear to bring your designs to life. I'm Will Fuller, Owner, and I would enjoy speaking with you on how Acacia can help you with our Intergrated Millwork Solutions. Call me at 877-565-5995.