Poltrona Frau contract division collaborated with German architecture firm Behnisch Architekten in the construction of the new conference hall of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency with 188 member states. WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation.
As part of a project to create the spaces dedicated to the forum, the collaboration between Poltrona Frau Contract and Behnisch Architekten centered on developing a system of cutting-edge hi-tech seats designed by the German architectural firm for the new conference hall.
The new conference hall, inaugurated on September 22, 2014 during the annual WIPO General Assembly, was specifically conceived and designed to meet the needs of the organization. All 900 seats, arranged around a single stage, are positioned in the space in an entirely non-hierarchical arrangement. The room is therefore dynamic, comfortable and suitable for interaction between the representatives of the various countries. Several smaller meeting rooms complete the functionality of this state of the art conference hall.
Poltrona Frau Contract delivered seats that focused on ergonomics, functionality and space management. To install as many seats as possible in the space, PF Contract, together with Behnisch Architekten, proposed a solution in which a seat can be mounted either on wheels or on a rail system. This ensures the stability of the seats, which are fixed to the floor, whilst preserving their functionality. In fact, the seats can rotate to a right angle.
“Our architecture office isn’t specialised in furniture design” – explained firm founder Stefan Behnisch – “and so for this important project in Switzerland we needed a strong and highly experienced partner that was interested in designing the seats with us. We had a clear idea of what we wanted to do but we needed expert support. Poltrona Frau Contract’s approach was extremely pragmatic and collaborative.” “For us, every new project is a chance to perfect our engineering expertise and demonstrate to the client our reliability in any type of project”, said Kurt Wallner, Managing Director of Poltrona Frau Contract.
Given the innovative and technological characteristics of the seats, the company decided to develop a complete collection for similar conference rooms. Given the link to the new WIPO conference hall in Geneva, the seats will be called Geneva Chair, a sinuous and elegant seat with a compact and light profile. The padding in flame retardant flexible polyurethane was created to offer maximum comfort. The cold foam ensures that it won’t shrink over time and maintains the seat’s load capacity and textural features.
It is available in high or low backrest versions, with or without armrests and in the leather colours of Pelle Frau leather from the Color System collection. The five-spoke metal base can come with or without wheels. As per the finest traditions of the contract division, the stitching and details can be customised in various ways and of course the special certifications required for public places can also be obtained.
Poltrona Frau Contract has a long tradition in the production of high-quality furniture. Today, audiences all over the world have first-hand experience of the comfort, design and elegance of the seats that Poltrona Frau Contract has produced for the most prestigious theatres and concert halls, for the interiors of the most luxurious planes and cruise ships, but also for palaces, embassies, 5-star hotels and many other types of publicly and privately owned collective spaces. Over 1000 projects in over 50 countries, comprising 20 customisable seat collections make the dreams and ideas of the most famous contemporary designers come true.
Behnisch Architekten was founded in 1989 as a branch office of Günter Behnisch‘s firm, Behnisch & Partner. Managed by Stefan Behnisch, the office became independent in 1991 and with 25 years of experience now has offices in Stuttgart, Boston and Munich. With a staff of over 100 people and projects in various sectors, widely publicised and exhibited at international shows and events, the firm continues with its research and design work and enjoys increasing recognition.Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Architect: Poltrona Frau Contract and Behnisch Architekten