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Furniture That Serves Social Distancing

With social-distancing measures in place, designers are coming up with creative and innovative ways to encourage physical separation, while still providing thoughtful design and function:


Included in the manufacturer’s product portfolio are various partitions, which can be easily incorporated into hospitality settings as safety tools that provide an additional layer of protection to guests. Kirei’s acoustic, modular EchoPanel Wrap, Paling and Platoon reconfigurable partition systems are designed to help organize open spaces and are a great way to zone off sections within large, open spaces such as a hotel lobby or seating area. Each system can be manipulated or moved around as needed as they don’t require permanent installation. Another perk of these partitions is that they are made of sound optimizing, eco-friendly PET material.

“Modularity is key, as is easy setup and takedown. Social distance and flow control needs change every day in hospitality settings—a big group may be showing up for a conference or a quick divider may be needed to funnel people away from a pool area. The EchoPanel Modular partitions can be set up and taken down in a snap, and pack flat for easy storage when not in use,” said John Stein, founder/president of Kirei.

Samuelson Furniture

Enjoy the distance and privacy afforded with separation of high-back upholstery with these two sleek options from Samuelson Furniture. Both the Tete-a-Tete and the Smart Chair Mini are ideal for safe social distancing in hospitality spaces.

“As an alternative size option to the beloved Smart Chair, the Smart Chair Mini was designed to highlight Samuelson Furniture’s innovative technology capabilities,” said Lawrence Chalfin, founder/CEO of Samuelson Furniture. “The chair includes an LED down-lit base, USB data ports and unique sound technology for an individualized experience. The sleek, high wing-backed upholstery is not only stylish, but is also an ideal option for safe social-distancing practices as hotels begin to reopen.”

Chalfin added, “The Tete-a-Tete was designed to generate privacy within side-by-side seating. The walnut, S-shaped curve base supports space conservation for smaller layouts, while the separation of high-back upholstery affords privacy and a safe social distance within a hospitality space.”


Poppin has launched a series of Protective Acrylic Shields, providing peace of mind for employees in an open office environment. The clear acrylic shields can be used on any surface as a freestanding solution for personal protection. The protective shields are available in multiple sizes: 27 in., 48 in., and 58 in.; and two available installation types: freestanding or fit to install into a Poppin Series A or Series L Desk.

“With ongoing efforts to contain the virus through social distancing, designers have begun to envision a practical path forward,” said Jeff Miller, VP of design for Poppin. “Readily and organically, a new product typology—the acrylic shield—has arisen to address multifold challenges in one: proximity, transparency and availability. Borrowing from the safety precedent of bank tellers’ and convenience stores’ needs, the need for lighter weight, individually deployed shields has taken over businesses of all types, starting with storefront commerce and service-related exchange to larger platforms like office spaces and anywhere people will eventually congregate again.”

Miller continued, “In a couple of short months, Poppin was able to design, specify, source and stock trifold shields to fit both around and upon our own desk systems and other manufacturers’ desks in standard sizes, and is seeing great success in providing a new product in a new environment to many of our existing customers. As more communities reopen in stages and individuals go back to an altered routine, the new normal will present further opportunity for additional ways to help mitigate proximity with transparency. Designers should then think about more permanent and more beautifully appropriate products with color, texture and pattern application; more materials like formed plastic or glass; and more use cases and settings like hospitality, dining and retail.”