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  • By Jacqueline Hosford, ASID

"Baby's Got Back"— the sexy seat back

Back in November 2019, I scoured the expansive BDNY (Boutique Hospitality Design Show) show floor at Jacob Javits Center for new resources and solutions and fresh design ideas. OMG! I was mind-blown-inspired by hundreds of utterly fabulous interior design possibilities (I kept thinking to myself, "Gotta find the right client for that"). Awesomely gorgeous fabrics that can withstand use and abuse in a hospitality setting, nifty contemporary furnishings, cool gadgets and luxe room amenities.

Chair seen at BDNY 2019 trade show.  Vendor unknown.

Amid all of this gorgeousness, though, I found myself beguiled by all the sexy backsides on display. Along every aisle, amidst stunning lighting and fabulous surface finishes, I would spy yet another chair with a compellingly designed back. Perhaps you can appreciate the shivers of joyful aesthetic appreciation I felt: each chair a manifestation of deeply intentional, exquisite design in every dimension, the back included.

All this makes huge sense from a practical standpoint, because hospitality seating is often times found floating in the middle of a space and has to look amazing from all angles. On the other hand, other than a built-in banquet or a sofa tucked against the wall, why should any furniture piece NOT also look awesome from the rear?

Chairs seen at BDNY 2019 trade show.  Vendor unknown.

Not spending much effort on the design of the backside of a seating piece may be a manufacturing and cost-cutting decision. We live in a world now overflowing with mass-produced throw away furnishings, inundated with poor design aesthetics and mediocre fabrication quality. And, that's a whole other important discussion.

Yes, you can expect to pay a premium for such beautifully-designed and well-wrought pieces. And even if your calculus on aesthetic value relative to budget leads you to alternatives, be keen on finding the best possible finely designed seat—front, sides and back!

So, in 2020, I encourage you to seek out the finer qualities of a good backside!

(I mean sofas and chairs, of course!)

With warm regards,

Jacqueline Hosford, ASID

click to see slide show:

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