Seems so simple. Yet answering the question, “what is hospitality furniture?” requires a great amount of detail.
Hospitality furniture (a.k.a. commercial furniture) is product you will find in a hotel, restaurant or a commercial setting within high-traffic areas. Examples of this include, but are not limited to; headboards, nightstands, coffee tables, vanities, entertainment units, dining tables, chairs, etc.
So, what makes hospitality furniture different than furniture you would find in your home?
Hospitality furniture, unlike residential furniture, is known for its ability to resist wear and tear from constant use for long periods of time. Most importantly, it must undergo stability, durability, and weight testing to meet commercial-grade standards.
Hospitality furniture is also designed to be easily maintained and have long-lasting resilience. Many major brands with the hospitality industry will require owners to upgrade their hotel furniture every 8-10 years (Note: this also happens so designs within the hotel room are kept current).
As mentioned earlier, commercial hotel furniture or commercial restaurant furniture are required to be made in a much stronger grade and build quality to ensure that it can take on more load-bearing times, withstand the constant lugging around, moving around, and stacking.
This is very common in commercial dining businesses and the furniture should also be able to take the weight of heavier than usual individuals to prevent breakage and collapse of the furniture which can be a nightmare recipe for lawsuits and poor customer experience, especially for reputed hospitality businesses.
This is further compounded by the fact that hospitality guests are not the average lot, which is understandable, you’re much more likely to less careful and less particular of furniture that is at a hotel or a restaurant instead of furniture at a hotel or a resort. Add the fact that there are quite a few outdoor furniture items for resorts & hotels & the need for strong build quality becomes fairly evident.
This is why commercial hospitality furniture should be made in a way so as to withstand these spillages, scratches etc.
An experience worth living (and maybe re-lived) is not obtained only through the type of activities and the variety of services offered, or through the level of guaranteed comfort, which are taken for granted in a hotel of a certain level. The first aspect on which a luxury hotel must focus, in order to offer guests a real escape from reality, is certainly the furniture. Furniture and furnishing accessories are not simple tangible objects, created for carry out a specific practical function, but are full-fledged part of a researched and well-studied experience.
The personalization of the experience therefore begins with luxury hotel furniture: hotels are interested in investing in interior design and in qualified professionals who know how to furnish both the common areas of the structure (reception, hallways, restaurant, outdoor areas, etc…) and the rooms, of course. These latest are the heart of a guest’s personal journey and it’s there where you get a taste of the atmosphere that you could not breathe anywhere else!
Style of hospitality furniture is instrumental not only in this zoning but also as a reinforcement of a hotel’s personality. A wingback chair says something a low sling chair does not. The key is to understand the message.
Hotel designers almost always custom design rather than select furniture for a hotel from a retailer. When dealing with a standard sized guestroom, for instance, space is paramount and custom furniture is necessary to ensure the right scale. In a lobby or restaurant, scale is crucial in conveying the right relationship each piece of furniture has to one another. For example, making sure a side table is designed to the correct height so that a guest sitting on an adjacent sofa can easily lean over and rest their drink on it is an absolute must.
Expectations of a sensory experience as soon as a guest steps through a hotel’s front doors are commonplace. Gone are the austere chairs and loveseats placed inexplicably at the entry and missing elsewhere. There’s less concern for creating pretty vignettes than ensuring comfort, flexibility and delight not only for the guest but for hotel staff as well.
The expectation today is that public spaces in hotels seamlessly function as living rooms, waiting areas, cocktail lounges, business centres and private getaways. Creating these zones in a lobby is only achievable with the right furniture placement. Arranging a large sectional with low backed chairs in the centre of the room is an invitation for all to enjoy. Locating a raised bar top with barstools adjacent to reception provides business travellers both visibility and privacy without commitment. Placing a communal table in a restaurant is a signal of participation and community.
The life cycle of a hotel is between five and 10 years. This means furniture must last not only stylistically but stand up to a tremendous amount of wear and tear during this period.
To ensure furniture will stand the test of time, designers need to understand how each piece is typically made and how the space in which the furniture will be placed will be used. This information helps a designer choose the right type of furniture fabric, colour, texture and grade. Of course, there needs to be a balance between aesthetics and durability. Durability should be incorporated in such a way that doesn’t detract from the overall look and feel of the furniture and space.
If you are working on a hospitality furniture project and you would like to discuss your current design and potential cost-saving methods, contact us for a complimentary value-engineering session.
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