Attractive Leisure Options

Today it's not just the architecture of buildings used for sports, cultural activities and other leisure purposes that makes its mark; the furnishings can provide creative highlights too.

Events like the World Cup or the Olympic Games are foreshadowed by architectural prestige projects: stadiums and other sports venues don't just serve as places for sporting competitions, they double as objects of prestige and identification for the host nations as well. Sports buildings such as the Allianz Arena in Munich or the Olympic Stadium in Beijing have long since acquired the status of modern architectural icons. A similar development can be observed in the cultural sector. At the very latest since the much-cited Bilbao Effect – the upgrading of the Basque metropolis as a result of Frank O. Gehry's Guggenheim Museum –expectations of a building's ability to forge identity have been transformed – both in relation to the architecture and furnishings of new buildings and the redesign of existing structures. This development is not only apparent when it comes to major prestige events and buildings, but in relation to smaller sporting events, theatres, museums and other leisure venues as well.

Just as expectations of the architecture and interior design of such buildings have changed, so have our expectations of their furnishings. On the one hand, in view of the fact that they are used on a massive scale, the focus continues to be on the functionality of the individual elements: tables, armchairs, chairs or bar stools for venues big and small need to be not just robust and hardwearing but easy to store and maintain as well. Comfort also plays an important role when it comes to seating intended for spectators at lengthy sporting events, contemplative listeners at classical concerts or visitors who want to take the weight off their feet after walking round a museum. On the other hand, there is now also a demand for furnishings designed to make their own mark within the ambitious architectural setting of today's leisure venues – either due to the subtle elegance of their forms or as unusual eye-catchers.

Examples from exhibitors at the imm cologne show how contemporary design is responding to the challenges of furnishing modern venues for sports, cultural activities and other leisure pursuits.

Source: Koelnmesse, reprint free of charge