Style, soybeans, and stab-proof seating

I don’t generally read articles in the Travel section of the Wall Street Journal or any other periodical. I have no occasion to travel for business in my current job (and I could probably use my fingers to count the total number of business trips I have ever taken). Family vacations these days, when we can manage them at all, are long weekends, generally to visit family in Michigan, or to GenCon in Indianapolis.

This article caught my eye because it’s about furniture. The company I work for makes furniture –  not for airports, but I’ve read enough updates about how new introductions of product lines are going to have some interest in the subject. At meetings to let us know how the company is doing, I hear about the factors that affect the market, and how we are responding. I have some idea what our selling points are, and on what basis we try to compete with our rivals in the market.

I’ve seen heated discussions about seating on airplanes, but never about the seating in the airport. It’s not particularly comfortable, but I had thought of that more as a matter of cost savings than the airport management wanting me to be up and shopping at the stores rather than sitting and relaxing. It gets lots of use, but I had never thought of it as needing parts replaced frequently or needing to be able to stand up to knife stabs. I certainly never cared what it looked like, stylistically, or what it was made of (environmentally friendly materials, for instance).

But designers and buyers of airport furniture care about such things. And I find it interesting to learn a bit more of what goes on behind the scenes to make the products we (as a society) use every day.

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