You’ve lined up some great speakers, a delicious catering menu and the right balance of attendees to ensure lively exchanges throughout the conference. But when your event begins, something is still missing. It may be that you are forgetting about an aspect of your event that, while central to the attendee experience, is often overlooked by meeting planners: the furniture. To accommodate today’s fast-paced and versatile professionals, meeting planners must design experiential corporate meeting spaces.
That means encouraging a sense of creativity without sacrificing professionalism -- not always an easy balance to strike. But by drawing inspiration from the latest design trends, meeting planners can break free of traditional design restrictions. Right now, the trends we at CORT Events see driving design include exploring mixed materials, organic colors schemes, bohemian décor and creating a design that is centered on comfort and wellness.
These tactics, which can be summarized as Mediterranean Craft style, create a stylish yet functional space that is likely to inspire productivity.
Prioritize Comfort and Warmth
Traditional conference seating is predictable and uninviting, and it can feel cold and intimidating. While it’s important to have practical seating options, your meeting space should act as a warm invitation for attendees to engage, learn, network and socialize comfortably. Consider planning your conference to mimic the coziness of a coffee shop, with shared seating and sofas that inspire collaboration and easy conversation.
This is simple to achieve by blending warm shades of brown, blue, terracotta and greens with soft textures like velvet and linen for a welcoming effect. Strategically placed greenery, such as a fiddle-leaf fig tree, will help complete the design and support a space dedicated to mental stimulation and wellness.
Introduce Bohemian Elements
Don’t be afraid to go beyond traditional, simplistic meeting décor. While a meeting space should always maintain a level of professionalism, there are many ways to insert excitement and playful décor, while still maintaining a polished look. Bohemian design choices, like patterned rugs and faux fur pillows, provide a creative feel and still demonstrate a sophisticated design.
Pair furnishings and eclectic décor with understated natural wood and cane elements to echo a look of fine craftsmanship. As a finishing touch, introduce floor and table lamps and use velvet drapery to divide space and seating vignettes. Up-light the drapery to mitigate the harsh, florescent conference lighting. Creating a soft glow, which will also help drive the theme of comfort and relaxation.
Break the Conference Room Bubble
From rooftop venues to warehouses, unconventional meeting spaces are growing in popularity. These alternative meeting spaces allow planners to establish breakaway areas to temporarily unplug or experience a change of scenery, empowering attendees to take a mental pause, regroup and remain productive. The easiest way to accomplish this is through fresh air and outdoor space.
Even a small terrace or patio can be transformed with outdoor furnishings, printed pillows and potted plants. If this isn’t an option, bring the relief of the outdoors inside with faux greenery, natural sunlight, warm hues and indoor/outdoor furnishings. The Mediterranean Craft style is not just about physical design elements -- it is about creating moments that transport attendees to calming sun-drenched, relaxing environments.
By following these tips and implementing this Bohemian chic style, your next corporate meeting or conference will be stylish, collaborative and comfortable, increasing the chances of leaving a positive impression on attendees.
Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development at CORT Events. To learn more about CORT’s exhibit and event rental collections or its Social Tables integration, visit www.cortevents.com.