Rise and shine
Retractable seating was the solution to enable The Griffin Theater,
part of The Shed in New York, to offer endless transformation options
The integration required Jezet Seating to work
in very close collaboration with DS+R and FDA.
One of the project’s key challenges was that all
the different materials used in the building are
reflected in the retractable unit, which meant
Jezet Seating was put to the test mastering all
those crafts. The company says it is a real
challenge implementing all the building details
in a seating structure that reduces to less than
10% of its fully deployed volume.
On top of its retractable functionality, the
seating platforms needed to be able to move in
any direction. Clearing the performance space
completely allows it to be used in a very diverse
way. To enable this, the platforms required a
carefully balanced transport system so the end
user could manoeuvre the structure over the dance
floor and through narrow aisles and elevators.
This involved the coordination and collaboration
of several contractors, with a fundamental role
played by FDA and DS+R. The final result is a
retractable seating system that enables the public
space to be used with maximum efficiency. n
O pened in April 2019, The Shed is
New York’s striking new venue for
the performing arts, visual arts and
other forms of culture. The Griffin
Theater contributes to the facility’s
extreme multifunctionality, with the ability to
transform from a flat floorplan into a theatre
with multiple configuration possibilities.
The Griffin Theater is equipped to
accommodate a continuous, 500-seat proscenium
configuration with an intermission space or can
be divided into two separate performance spaces,
each acoustically isolated despite being hosted
on the same level.
Jezet Seating provided retractable seating to
create the flexibility and comfort required in
The Griffin Theater. The intent was to enable
a large capacity in theatre configuration, while
using the space as efficiently as possible – after
all, every pocket of space is extremely expensive.
Modular platforms enable the creation of
multiple seating layouts, an ideal solution to
allow a public space to be used intensively and
flexibly for the performing arts.
This idea was conceived by the venue’s lead
architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and
the theatre consultant on the project, Fisher
Dachs Associates (FDA).
The expectation with this kind of platform is
that it will perform in exactly the same way as
if people were walking over fixed platforms.
The retractable mechanism is equipped with
many technical adjustable joints and supports
to create a solid construction that doesn’t
produce any squeaking or bouncing sounds.
Ideally the public should not be aware that they
are sitting on a temporary construction.
Jezet Seating also put a lot of effort into
integrating the design of the platforms to match
the interior of the theatre. This is another
important part in giving the impression that the
retractable platform is a permanent integrated
part of the building. This design philosophy
extended to the design of the chair – after all,
theatregoers expect highly comfortable seating.
Above: The seating solution
when fully deployed; it can
be retracted to less than 10%
of this full volume
Below: The materials used
reflect those used elsewhere
in the building, so it looks like
an integrated component
AUDITORIA 2020 VOLUME ONE 63