Chairs at DeVos Place leave nobody behind
Written by Mike Venturino
June 30, 2009

Take a seat! 

How many times have Synod-goers heard that in the past four days, and how many butt-numbing hours have they spent in those seats? 

Well, maybe not so numbing.

Over and over, United Church News staffers have heard delegates and visitors comment that the portable chairs in the meeting rooms and Plenary Hall were among the most comfortable they have ever used. 

Steve Duerksen, a visitor from the Michigan Conference, observed that they are "not cold — especially considering the temperature in the building. They have a nice little bounce to them." 

A straw poll of the Synod Office staff gave them a nearly unanimous "pretty nice."

It turns out that the chairs are a pretty remarkable example of buying locally. According to Kathy Bart, director of sales for DeVos Place, they were designed and built for the facility when it opened in 2003. 

The chairs are part of a line called Cachet, manufactured by Steelcase, a Grand Rapids company. According to the Steelcase website, they were designed by Peter Jon Pearce, and incorporate the little link that gives them the "bounce." They are made of a composite material that is 99 percent recyclable by weight. There are about 8,000 in the convention center. To the general public, the chairs retail at $319 each. 

Bart added that a representative of the Grand Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau takes one with him to trade shows. When Bart gives tours to potential clients, she said she urges people to sit in them and refers to them as "all-day chairs." 

Perhaps "all-week chairs" may be a more apt moniker for Synod folks.  Take a seat (home) anyone?

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