6 Tips for Designing Auditoriums that Combine Beauty and Functionality


Auditoriums exist for a utilitarian purpose: to provide a space in which to be entertained. Despite their root in necessity, aesthetics and comfort should not be neglected when designing these spaces. Users expect distinct design elements when attending a play, seminar or concert, and a lack of attention to detail can take away from the overall experience. 

Following are components to keep in mind when designing an auditorium, with inspiration and images provided by Race Furniture

Consider a Tilted Stage

6 Tips for Designing Auditoriums that Combine Beauty and Functionality

Bord Gais Energy Theatre by Race Furniture

Having a tilted stage in your auditorium makes for an optimized audience experience that essentially tricks the eye into thinking the stage is much deeper than it is, with a forced perspective. This design choice has the merit to become an auditorium's unique selling point but as with all designs, it has its shortcomings.

Firstly, performers and speakers would have to become acclimated to the slope, which might prove more of a hassle for some than others. You can't have too steep a slope either. For instance, this choice won't work in a wraparound audience theatre. For this design, a parallel-seated audience area adjacent to the stage is best. Some of the world's most stunning auditoriums boast tilted stages which make for a unique and eye-catching experience not as common. 

Steeper Ascending Seating

6 Tips for Designing Auditoriums that Combine Beauty and Functionality

Bryanstone by Race Furniture

All modern auditoriums have ascending seating, as it provides the audience the best view possible. If you elect to have steep ascending seating in your auditorium, the individual audience member will have an even better view of the stage. Steeper seating also gives the theatre a greater sense of drama, with the seats in front dropping steeply away to reveal the action on stage. Bespoke seating is the best way to achieve this effect both neatly and stylishly.

Shallow Ascending Seating

6 Tips for Designing Auditoriums that Combine Beauty and Functionality

Bush House Auditorium by Race Furniture

While you might think of auditoriums and theatres with more shallow seating as being a little less glamorous, it all depends on what is being aired and performed. When it comes to seminars and audience participation, shallowly ascending seating is vastly superior to steeper options which distance the users from the stage.

Shallow seating puts everyone on the same level and is designed to allow for easier communication and conversation. Obviously, this is not ideal for concert halls or playhouses. The main risk with this design is that it can look less interesting and dramatic than its steeper counterpart.

This effect can be countered with quality bespoke seating that matches the style and character of your building, which can make even the flattest, least dynamic auditorium look more stylish. 

Modern or Classical Interior Design

6 Tips for Designing Auditoriums that Combine Beauty and Functionality

Essex University by Race Furniture

Auditoriums and theatres are subjective and come in infinite shapes and sizes. There is the plasterwork and gold lacquering of Baroque and Gothic classic styles that came into popularity of years ago; as well as the minimalist, industrial styling of small independent auditoriums, simplistic and functional in nature. 

No matter what design you decide on for the interior of your auditorium, always consider seating that flows with the greater design. There are plenty of mass-produced seating options that exist, but often bespoke seating provides the best appearance that will match the unique and fascinating style of the auditorium’s interior.

Bespoke seating can be designed, experimented with and built to match the interior that you dream up. There is never any worry that the seats won’t work aesthetically and you know that the rows of seating are going to install perfectly and easily into the curves and ascending areas of the room. 

Consider Acoustics

6 Tips for Designing Auditoriums that Combine Beauty and Functionality

Design Museum by Race Furniture

Whatever you do with your auditorium or playhouse, remember to bear the acoustics of the room in mind. Recruit an expert to give their opinion on the space if possible. You do not want to end up having planned and designed a venue with poor acoustics that echo and prevent guests from experiencing the show. 

Word travels fast about the quality of venues, auditoriums, and theatres with terrible sound, which can result in negative impact on the theatre’s business. 

Comfort is King

6 Tips for Designing Auditoriums that Combine Beauty and Functionality

Cast Doncaster by Race Furniture

People like being comfortable. That’s an inarguable fact. When choosing a venue’s seating, bear in mind cushioning, back design, height and most importantly: leg room. Without adequate seating in terms of comfort, you’re going to have audience members shifting and not paying full attention. 

If the guest is not fully immersed in what they came to see, the audience is missing out. Prioritise comfort and invest in bespoke seating where you can specify different elements of the design yourself to ensure the perfect viewing experience.

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