Hungarian design in the halls of tourism
Tourinform offices play an important role in the complex system of tourism – many of us head first to the tourist information centres during a trip abroad or countryside, where we receive all information about the local attractions and programs of the city, pocketing an easy-to-read, graphically illustrated map indicating the old town, museums, galleries and restaurants. These tourist information offices represent the region or country visited for the first time - the impressions gained here add to the image that the tourist eventually takes away in his or her memories and stories.
Two principles are shaping this kind of interior: the enhancement of tourists’ journeys and the reach of optimal working conditions. In both cases, the augmentation of comfort level, as well as the first-rate aesthetics, are a matter of utmost importance. For the purposes of the tourist information centre, the FLAGSHIP armchair was chosen as the starting point of the product development, which has been reinterpreted and elaborated according to the needs of the users and the space.
The FLAGSHIP armchair was designed by András Kerékgyártó (Head of Design) in 2017, as part of the FLEET Collection. FLAGSHIP is a tactile expression of modern life in terms of flexibility, inventiveness and effortless elegance as well as the physical embodiment of the brand and head of the designers' mission. The seat shell embraces gently the body protecting the lumbar region by providing sufficient support, arms can be rested on a delicate lift at a perfect height, and the curved edges on the seat pan as well as on the back follow softly the lines of the thighs and back without cutting into them. The shell entails two parts: the seat pan with armrest and the backrest, forming an inherent unity with the upholstery which conforms seamlessly to the composition.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
FLAGSHIP armchairs are available with swivel bases with castors, swivel bases, wooden legs and with sled bases. In terms of function, the type of “cashier chair” was considered an ideal seating for the touristic centres’ requirements – it entails an adjustable-height seat pan, a footrest and a star base that ensures stability. This chair category is typically available in plastic with a wide, circular footrest. In the project for Tourinform’s interiors, the challenge was to implement a more elegant solution than these types.
Moving away from the concept of the “cashier chair”, but retaining its features (adjustable height with footrest), the search for suppliers began - this phase of the project was considered a serious anchor in the rhythm of the operation as there was no product available on the market meeting the criteria of implementation as well as the style and standards of Plydesign (use of plastics and unacceptable elaboration). In addition, the design and assemblage of the leg structure to the shell required some time, so it was really a race against time. During this phase of the product development, Plydesign tested several products and combinations from many suppliers sparing no time, additional cost and employee capacity. By mobilizing its network, Plydesign contacted several manufacturers, but unfortunately, these versions all pointed in the direction of the “cashier chair” type.
Finally, an Italian manufacturer has reached our scope of active search which was able to provide a leg structure that fully meets the aforementioned expectations. Thus, András Kerékgyártó started planning how the shell and the foot structure was going to connect, making as few changes as possible. The four-legged star base used in Plydesign products was not safe enough for this height, so it was replaced with a five-legged star base. He also matched the right height with the perfect footrest - again, the footrests on the market were characterized by the lack of elaborated design. Finally, the head of design found a suitable solution: the footrest moves together with the shell, ergo with the user - thus eliminating the implementation of a large-diameter, circular footrest.
ADDED VALUE AND PRACTICALITY
As a result of the project, we can underline the fact that András Kerékgyártó has designed a product which entirely lives up to users’ and Tourinform offices’ expectations in the form of the FLAGSHIP high armchair. The final product involves parts from three different suppliers, which implies that the FLAGSHIP high armchair is not a ready-to-use solution – the added value was realized locally, providing a local response to local demand. The success of product development lies in the fact that it has been designed specifically according to the customer's requirements, going beyond the initial demands.“The product development means us positive professional feedback in several aspects - an opportunity which allowed us to show that our young design brand is able to quickly perform complex tasks and services in an agile way. We are grateful and glad that with our intellectual capital and technological background, we were able to contribute to the representation of Hungarian products in the national offices of Tourinform. ” said Tamás Babits, CEO of Plydesign.
Designer: András Kerékgyártó, 2020
Manufacturer: Licit Ltd.
Tourinform offices Hajdúszoboszló, Tokaj, Zalakaros, Sopron, Keszthely