Comfortable and resistant fixed seating for Johannesburg’s landmark theatre
The renovation had various aims, which included bringing the building into line with new South African safety regulations and increasing the main theatre's seating capacity. The increase in capacity in the main hall, which at the time contained 380 seats, had to be done while allowing more space for the audience and not the other way around. Given that it is a historic building, the renovations had to be carried out without altering the perimeter walls, which meant that Figueras' work was particularly challenging.
In order to increase seating capacity, Figueras re-organised the seats into stalls in the shape of a Roman amphitheatre. Seats were added in the central areas with better visibility and seats in areas with restricted or no views were removed. Thanks to the shape of the irregular rows at the edges and by experimenting with various sizes of seats, each row gained a larger number of seats and, at the same time, the final visual effect of the auditorium was unified. In the circle, the rows were arranged in steep banks, which meant that the seats had to incline -4° so that the sight line was good.
The product that Figueras recommended was the TOP 5036. This an extremely hard-wearing seat and one of Figueras' most comfortable products, a fact that made it the customer's choice. Its adaptability is ideal for a space of this type, as it comes available with two different sizes of back rest which means uniform rows can be created by mixing different widths. By using different anchor bolts, it was possible to adapt the seats to the concrete floor in the stalls and the wooden floor in the circle. The seat is upholstered in red velvet which gives it an added decorative touch.