Designer seats for an emblematic cultural building
The auditorium of this Chilean cultural complex has one of Figueras' best-known models: the Flex armchair. The 6036 model was chosen for its acoustic response, as it is modular and adaptable to the engineer's requirements. For better performance, an upholstery that minimises the reverberation of the room was chosen.
In March 2006, a fire devastated the former Diego Portales convention building in Santiago de Chile, which had served as the home of the Chilean government until 1981. In 2007 the Chilean state decided to convert the building into a cultural centre and in 2009 renamed it as the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre. The team of architects Cristián Fernández Arquitectos Asociados and Lateral Arquitectura won a public competition for the restoration of the building.
According to the architects, “from a technical-expressive point of view, our proposal takes architectural qualities from the original project and freely reinterprets them in a contemporary way for the construction of a new programme for the building”. The result is an emblematic building that aims to erase the traces of its past and become a symbol of transparency. Thus, the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre opens up to the city through a large roof with loose volumes underneath it and creates a new public space for the community. On the façade, the use of corten steel applied with different finishes, perforated, smooth, folded and natural, stands out, exploring its possibilities as a material.
The main challenge of this project was to choose a model that would have the best possible acoustic performance for the rooms it was intended for. The client’s acoustic engineer selected a seat from the Flex family, the 6036, which is highly modular and adaptable to the acoustic needs of the room. This model was fully upholstered to achieve the lowest possible reverberation.
In addition, when folded, the seat and backrest form a perfect rectangle that acts as an acoustic panel. Another of the singularities of the project, and given its public use, is that it had to be a high quality, durable and maintenance-free product. This condition would not only avoid additional costs, but would also guarantee the preservation of the seat’s performance over time.
In addition, the safety aspect was a top priority for the owner. This model complies with all regulations regarding reaction to fire.
A wing of the building was inaugurated with two theatres that include the Flex 6036 seat, which gives uniformity and sobriety to both facilities. The 6036 Flex chair stands out for its balance between comfort and its design focused on the use of space, as well as for its excellent acoustic performance. The seat is automatic, smooth and silent thanks to the Soft System mechanism, while the backrest is fixed. Once in use, the two sides act as fixed arms. It is made from SemiIntegral Form, an ergonomic and non-deformable monoblock upholstery system.
The block is covered in an easily interchangeable upholstery cover with a zip system.