Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Designing Large Conference Tables That Work

Large v-shaped conference table made to seat a crowd. With embedded logo made in USA by Franz.
Large conference tables are one of our specialties. We’ve built tables all the way up to 35 feet long, for 35 people. (A rule of thumb is you can seat the same number of people as the table is long.)

Among the clients we’ve provided with oversized tables are Lockheed Martin and several military and government facilities.

Designing a large table
One of the important questions we consider when designing a large table is the type of material. If you’d like to use a wood veneer, we advise you that some of our pre-finished veneers come in standard size sheets. This means the tabletop will need to be built in more sections, which leads to more seams and higher costs.

That’s why we ask an extensive array of questions to determine how the table will be used. Your answers help us identify the size and materials that will work best. And we can recommend alternatives you’d have no way of finding out about through casual online research.

Table shape matters
The shape of the table and configuration of power and data modules are also key points we walk you through. How can we make it comfortable for a large number of people to interact and conduct business around a table?

For instance, you can fit two more people around a racetrack table than a rectangular shape. And a V-shaped table will give a clearer view to everyone in a large group.

What kind of technology will your company need? Microphones? Videoconferencing modules? Presentation capabilities? We’ll help you decide. And if made in USA is important you, your table will be created at our design and production studio in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bob Franz, San Francisco Bay Area designer of large conference tables
Bob Franz, Design Director

Let us answer your questions about the size and features of a large conference table that will best suit your office. Email or call Bob Franz at 415.883.9500, ext. 14. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Add power and data to your conference table or buy a new one?

Here’s how we help our clients weigh the big question:  retrofit or purchase a new tech-ready conference table?

When to retrofit your table
  • Your table is new and expensive
  • It was custom crafted by a carpenter or made of a long-wearing material such as granite
  • It's a vintage table made from solid planks of beautiful maple or oak
If you’re afraid to cut into your table to embed the power and data modules, we understand. It can be tricky. One option is the low-profile outlets we can provide. They install under the edge of table with no cutouts required. You can still keep wires underneath, out of sight.

Retrofitting cost, risk & process 
pop up power and data port installed in a maple finish Franz-designed conference table
Before you move ahead, take a moment to consider the time and money required to retrofit your table:
  • Substantial expense – you may not want to invest in updating an
    older, inexpensive or low quality conference table
  • Module & installation costs – good quality modules can start
    at $450, and you’ll need to hire a professional to create the cut-outs
    and install the modules
  • Risks of cutting into the table – with very little room for error,  precision work is critical. Will the material hold up to the installation process? Veneer could split, etc.
  • Suitability of the table – are there brackets under the table that will obstruct the power modules? Is there a center stability support that will prevent you from cutting a hole in the middle? Consider the thickness and material of table in making your decision.
  • Mess, noise and time lost – the retrofitting process is not a pretty one, and not necessarily quick
When to consider a new conference table
Bank of Marin's new conference table with power and data ports
If you're willing to compromise, you may be able to get a few more years from your old table. Here are some indications that purchasing a new table would suit you better:
  • It has to be right –  when you need a table to fit your space, design preferences and technology requirements, consider having it custom  produced
  • To make an impression – choose a design that reflects your company’s image and culture
  • Your company is tech savvy – you're already using today’s technology in the conference room, and will continue to upgrade and add new capabilities as technology evolves
  • Your table is biting the dust – if it's wobbly or showing wear, is a starter piece you’ve outgrown, or the design stands out – in a bad way – then you're on the path to a new table
We’d be happy to answer your questions or walk you through the decision-making process. Get in touch with a Franz design professional.

See more
Design ideas
Power / data accessories

Monday, February 3, 2014

Get Conference Room Design Ideas from the Pros

Thanks to your support, we've been outfitting offices with state-of-the-art custom furniture for over 25 years now. And as they say, we're not getting older -- we're getting better!

Your requests have challenged us to keep our problem solving skills polished to a high shine. Here's a story of how we collaborated with a Santa Rosa, California client to create a stylish, technology-ready conference room. 
High-tech furniture transforms med-tech office

Modern convex shape, fusion maple finish boardroom table seats 14 in Trivascular's Santa Rosa conference room.
Modern boardroom table, hidden wiring

Growing medical devices firm Trivascular, Inc. was outgrowing its office furniture. When the CEO assigned Executive Assistant Tonja Jennings, who had no design expertise, the task of redesigning their boardroom, "I panicked," she says.

In her online research she discovered us as an ally right in her Bay Area backyard.

Design education
Most of our clients have never bought a conference table, let alone designed a custom, tech-enhanced piece. So we educate as we walk them through it.

Design Director Bob Franz asked Tonja a series of thought-provoking questions about their business and style preferences. Together, they settled on a modern design to reflect the company's focus on science and innovation. 

The final specs: 
- 4' x 14', to seat 14
- Fusion maple laminate finish, with a 4" black  border & Reverse Styledge

Technology and wire management built in

Choosing built-in technology for the table wasn't even on Tonja's radar, so she appreciated that Bob raised the subject. She broadened the discussion by including the company's IT director in the design process.

The result was a conference table with computer connectivity, up-to-the-minute presentation capabilities and a room free of visible cords.

Franz provided plan view line drawings of the boardroom showing the new conference table in place. The electrician knew precisely where to bring the wires up through the floor to ports in the table bases.

Next step, the lobby

The Trivascular folks were impressed and asked Franz to go a step further -- to design reception furniture that
Santa Rosa firm, Trivascular, asked for a curved, glass-topped reception desk in fusion maple to match their new conference table.
Curved reception desk with side table
matched the newly outfitted boardroom. "Now our furnishings are elegant, modern and professional," says Tonja. "They've transformed our offices and we consistently receive compliments from our guests and clients."

Stump us

We have a penchant for puzzles, so get in touch with your tough office furniture questions.

Click to learn more
Photos of Franz custom-designed office furniture
What clients are saying
Ask Bob a question 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Conference Table Design – Choosing a Finish

Our VP and head designer Bob Franz shares some tips for helping you select the best finish for your conference table.

Where do I start in choosing a finish?

It all depends on how you expect to use the table. In a high-use area – for constant meetings, demos and working lunches – then we recommend laminate. It looks nearly identical to veneer but is a more durable choice.
When the table is meant to impress, or for light usage in client and board meetings, then a wood veneer is a better option.

Which finishes are best for a modern, yet traditional look?
A sophisticated traditional conference table, such as for a bank or law firm, I would suggest a finish like mahogany or a Wenge veneer. Not too ostentatious, but elegant.

To really wow your clients, consider a premium veneer, like a carmine birds eye or maple birds eye. They’re more highly figured woods, with a higher-end look.

How about a modern design?

If you’re in a cutting edge industry and want to reflect that, we’ll help you choose a contemporary laminate. Maybe a color or wood grain table top, with a metal or another color for accent. And you can highlight your branding by having us inlay your logo.
black madagascar finish conference table
Madagascar laminate

What finishes are popular now?
Each client gets exactly what they want, a fully customized table, so there is no overwhelming favorite. We help them choose among the hundreds of veneers, wood grain laminates with visual dimension and even laminates that look like metal.

Lately, we’ve seen a lot of interest in these materials:
  • Black Madagascar laminate
  • Ribbon mahogany laminate and classic mahogany veneer
  • Brushed aluminum accents
  • “Green” materials
  • Glass
    ribbon mahogany custom conference table
    Ribbon mahogany laminate
We’re excited about every project, because each one is different. Let me know your design ideas or we can start from a blank slate.
Find out more

See sample finishes
Tables featuring client logos
Ask questions

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Conference Table Design – Choosing a Shape

Choosing a conference table shape is the first step in designing the right piece for your office.

Here are some major factors to consider:
  • the functions you need to accommodate
  • how many people you'll seat
  • room size and shape
  • preference for conventional or show-stopping design
Some of our most popular conference table shapes

Rectangle - a time-honored shape, suited to businesses that want to convey solidity and engender trust
Round – a sociable setting that stimulates lively interaction
Boat – a modern take on the typical rectangular table
Racetrack – rounded table ends create extra seats, compared to the same size table with square ends
V-shaped – great for video conferencing and seating a large group so everyone can make eye contact
Custom – inventing a custom shape helps you take advantage of an unusually configured room, meet specific functional requirements or create a table that makes a statement. We’ve designed everything from boomerang to arrowhead shapes.
Custom - T-shaped

Need help deciding on the best shaped table for your conference room? We’re always happy to answer your questions or walk you through the decision process.

Get in touch with Bob Franz, our head designer: (877) 594.9160 or .

Learn more
About Franz Design Group
Steps from design to delivery
Our materials & technology

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Large Board Room Table for Silicon Valley Client

The rounded edges of this large racetrack-shaped board room table allows Scios to seat more people than at a standard rectangle.

The Silicon Valley firm needed plenty of power and data modules built in for presentations and video conferencing.

And to maintain a clutter-free conference room, they asked us to create the built-in cabinets and video screens.

Learn more
Franz furniture design & pricing
Customizing - finishes, logos and more

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wire Management for California Client's Video Conferencing Table

Wire management is a priority for almost all our clients, since everyone needs power and data ports in their conference tables these days. We're experts at incorporating technology, while keeping the cables hidden.

In this case, we designed sleek removable access panels for wire management into this custom table for Travis Air Force Base in Northern California.

We consulted with Travis AFB on technologies needed to make their board room table most efficient. Among those included are phone, video conferencing and a security strobe light.

Dimensions: 72” x 19”

Table finish: Oak laminate

Table edge: Reverse Styledge with a 2" black border

Table shape: Rectangular

Technology: Video conferencing, toggle switches for security strobe, 12 tilt-up power & data grommets

Special features: Custom unit to seat 12, with a drawer for each user. Turret has lip to support phone system.

Let us know about your requirements for technology and wire management. We'll custom-configure a solution for your conference room. Contact us for details.

Learn more

Installing conference table technology
Selected finishes & design choices