American Seating displays higher end furniture at NeoCon


American Seating, a well-known producer of contract seating in Grand Rapids for more than 100 years, will introduce a freestanding table line, a wood base chair, a stackable table and Us Chair accessories at this year’s NeoCon. 

Under the theme “Designs for Learning,” all of the new American Seating products are intended for the changing interior environments in the higher education market. The products are designed to coordinate with the award-winning Us Chair line the manufacturer introduced at last year’s NeoCon.

The annual National Exposition of Contract Furnishings at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart features displays by several hundred companies from around the world, many of which have showrooms there. NeoCon has been held at the Mart since 1969.

American Seating has a permanent showroom on the 10thfloor, where the new products — the Us Wood Base Chair, Us Table Line, Dek table and Us Chair accessories — will be on display. This year the company’s NeoCon showroom was designed by the Object Agency of New York.

The introduction of the new freestanding products are in contrast to the company’s long and noteworthy history of production for the fixed-seating market, where it has a strong presence in auditoriums, performing arts centers, sports stadiums and mass transportation vehicle seating.

The new products support the company’s history of providing furniture for schools.

“American Seating introduced the revolutionary student-desk combination in 1886, which set the seating standard in the education market for decades,” said Deb McDermott, vice president of marketing. “We’re using our expertise and experience and combining it with exhaustive research to help meet the dynamic ways in which student learning takes place and teachers instruct today.”

The focal point of the showroom will be the new Us Table Line. Developed to provide design continuity with the Us Chair family, four models of the tables representing the broader product line will be on display. Available with casters or glides, the easily configurable tables accommodate active learning environments and can be arranged in multiple ways for peer-to-peer or small- to large-group collaborative learning settings, according to the company.

American Seating also will showcase its new Us Wood Base Chair, which complements the other freestanding and fixed-base products within the Us Chair line. The chair has a multi-ply wood base available in ash or walnut face veneer and a plastic seating shell.

The first line of Us Chair products were developed in partnership with noted industrial designer Jeff Weber of Studio Weber + Associates and renowned colorist Laura Guido-Clark of Laura Guido-Clark Design.

American Seating also will show the Dek, a lightweight stackable table that can be used with Us Chairs or its Acton stacking chairs.

The company’s on-campus research reportedly shows “that learning environments need to be flexible and dynamic to accommodate today’s instructor needs with student learning styles. Our broad portfolio of fixed and freestanding products enables us to be anywhere on campus where learning happens,” said McDermott.

American Seating’s involvement at this year’s NeoCon also consists of sponsoring the International Interior Design Association’s annual black-tie awards gala, held June 9 at the Ritz Carlton Chicago.

This year’s NeoCon will feature The Outdoor Office, an exhibit created by Jonathan Olivares Design Research that was on display at the Art Institute of Chicago for most of 2012. The project explores outdoor work spaces for education and business offices.

Keynote speakers at NeoCon 2013 include Bjarke Ingels of BIG, designer Michael Vanderbyl, Holly Hunt of Holly Hunt Enterprises, and Theaster Gates of the University of Chicago.

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