Why Creative Conference Seating Is Important
In our recent roundup of 2019 corporate event trends, we talk a bit about creative conference seating — something that’s becoming increasingly common at large events around the world. If you’ve been to a forward-thinking, well-designed conference at which the seating for the keynote session, for instance, involved a more lounge-like seating than the auditorium- or classroom-style audience of yore, then you know precisely what we mean. Read on to learn why creative seating options are important, as well as a few tips for pulling off this unique trend at your next big event.
Popular for a while now at relaxed wedding ceremonies with a vintage feel, the trend of lounge seating in large audience settings has quickly gained traction for its freshness, not to mention the fact that it somehow feels more authentic to “real life.” When we talk to one another at home, at friends’ houses, or out for coffee or cocktails, we tend to find ourselves leaning in, gravitating toward one another on couches and in armchairs, really getting into what we’re talking about or listening to. Seated in traditional theaters and classrooms, on the other hand, each seat can form its own little silo, disconnecting us in a way from the people around us.
So, it makes sense that walking into a conference session and taking a seat on a comfortable couch would facilitate a sense of openness, curiosity and familiarity all at the same time. In fact, the concept of unique conference seating echoes the shift that’s been taking place in the modern workplace, in which employers are expected to afford opportunities to work from home, enjoy flexible hours, achieve a sustainable work-life balance, and acknowledge team members as living, breathing human beings.
In other words: dynamic, inviting spaces foster better conversation and a greater sense of enjoyment and well-being. And isn’t that what we want when we gather our people together to move forward as a group?
Determining an Aesthetic
To incorporate unique conference seating into your next event, it’s essential to determine your aesthetic right from the start. Ask yourself: What type of look and feel do you want? How can you translate it into the space? You might start with an inspiration or “mood” board, pulling images from your favorite interior design pages and websites, paying attention to textures, color palettes, furniture styles, and fun design trends that might give the space an unexpected edge. Keep in mind small but important details like rugs, pillows, plants, and other touches that pull the whole look together and make the space feel just right.
It’s important to consider the flow of your floor plan, variations in furniture height, universal accessibility, and a mixture of seating types that isn’t monotonous but isn’t too busy or overwhelming, either. The overall goal is to curate a collection of pieces that feels organized and considerate but cozy and warm, like someone’s home or personal space. Design-minded attendees will appreciate the effort, and almost everyone secretly enjoys choosing their own kind of seat, like walking into a coffee house and picking the perfect place to sit.
Making It Work
Putting together just the right mix can be tricky (and time-consuming), but luckily, a professional event rentals expert can get you where you need to go. In Austin, for example, Kennedy Collection offers a full range of design services from concept creation, floor planning, and stage design to furniture sourcing, panel layout, and décor. We have the flexibility to seat small groups of 50, to large crowds of 300 and well beyond. No matter how you pull it all together, unique conference seating creates an environment conducive to conversation, creativity and a sense of community. What could be better than that?