Where office spaces are destined for different purposes, furniture offering maximum flexibility is required too. Which is why Wilkhahn collaborated with designer Wolfgang Mezger to adapt a vertically stackable multipurpose chair to the requirements of modern working environments and harnessed state-of-the-art plastics technologies where the material and craftsmanship are concerned. The result is a lightweight and hard-wearing plastic chair that comes in a first-class design. Its three-dimensional seat shell offers excellent comfort and support. With a choice of six colours, four types of upholstery and clever accessories, Aula is a versatile option for traditional multipurpose areas, seminar and meeting rooms, recreational zones and co-working spaces designed in the look and feel of homes. And what’s more: it’s still stackable.
New office environments need to be highly adaptable. The office is increasingly becoming a project in progress in order to encourage employees’ willingness to accept change. Frequent modifications in the furniture and the way office space is used are not just down to the dynamic transitions a business undergoes, but the need to ring the changes, which in itself encourages people to think and act in an agile way. It’s typical of the maxim put forward by the famous architect, designer and philosopher Buckminster Fuller: “Re-shape the environment, don’t try to re-shape men”. Wilkhahn developed the Aula multipurpose chair with designer Wolfgang C.R. Mezger in order to combine standardisation and flexibility with a maximum of variety with regard to design.
Whether a multipurpose chair’s destined for lectures, seminars, team meetings or to eat and drink at, it primarily has to be very comfortable. When creating Aula, the designer drew on decades of experience to develop the perfectly shaped seat shell with Wilkhahn’s engineers. The seat shell was honed to perfection following comprehensive sitting tests with people of all different sizes, shapes and weights. Its three-dimensional shape embraces the body, with ergonomically ideal contours to the seat and backrest. The elasticity of the high-performance plastic also offers exceptional comfort and support. As a result, long meetings become more comfortable events – even when the chair isn’t upholstered.
The quality of Aula’s design is the second aspect that makes it so special. Whether with or without armrests, the shell and frame are a consistent unit with precise and soft lines that suggest the chair is seamless. The armrests are connected in a slightly offset manner, exactly mirroring the sloping rear legs. Placed in a row, the chairs therefore leave a very crisp and orderly impression, which is reinforced by the fact that the colours and surfaces of the frames, shells and armrests are the same. The precise way all the parts are made and joined to produce a harmonious end result places stringent demands on the material and processing technology. Wilkhahn liaised closely with leading experts from the plastics industry to make all parts of the frame from a high-performance plastic without requiring any steel core. The use of glass-fibre-reinforced Ultramid® means the chair merely weighs 6 kilos without or 6.7 kilos with armrests. Above all however, the form and surfaces of the hard-wearing and practical chair are very impressive and virtually beg people to take a seat.
Aula’s basic structure is simple and fit for many purposes, both in terms of function and design. The types with and without armrests, six colours and four types of upholstery (not upholstered, with seat cushioning, with full padding on inside and fully upholstered) conjure up 48 basic types that tick almost all the boxes. Therefore, there are all sorts of places they can be used: from canteens to recreational zones with especially affordable versions without upholstery to seminar and lecture seating with upholstered seats to especially comfortable chairs for meetings with padding on the inside or fully upholstered types that wouldn’t look out of place in homes. Depending on the upholstery chosen from the comprehensive Wilkhahn upholstery materials collection, the latter are ideal for rooms requiring superior acoustics, such as concert halls.
Two things all models share are that up to 16 can be stacked free-standing and they are suitable for all sorts of purposes. They come with sophisticated accessories, consisting of simple clip-on row- and seat-numbers, slot-on and fold-up writing tablets plus matching inline connectors and four-wheeled trolleys for up to ten chairs. In addition to a permanent inline connector for rows without armrests, an adjustable inline connector offers maximum flexibility to allow models with and without armrests to be combined as desired.
The Aula range can be delivered from January 2018.