Casegoods & Desks: On the Bench: HBF Linea CollectionMario Ruiz Studio had no less than six product introductions with various companies at the Salone del Mobile in Milan this year, but in the United States, this prolific Spanish industrial designer has found an important place with HBF. For the second time in three years, the Hickory, N.C.-based furniture manufacturer is introducing a major Mario Ruiz-designed furniture line at NeoCon®. “This is a signature collection for HBF for a few reasons,” says HBF vice president of design Kevin Stark. “It takes full advantage of HBF’s long history of craftsmanship and attention to detail, but even more importantly, we feel this series offers some significant new solutions in the conferencing arena, such as customized seating and presentation options.”
A beautiful aesthetic solution is always expected from HBF, and this line features the same elegant blending and wrapping of materials—including wood, leather, glass, laminate, Corian, and metal—that has helped make the Linea Casegoods Collection a top seller for HBF. “In Linea casegoods the materials were fusing one to another, and there was a melting between them,” says Ruiz. “This time I took a more elaborate, more complex, and even more handcrafted approach.”
Nevertheless, the more surprising benefits of Linea are in the line’s extensive capabilities—a result of numerous conversations with A/V consultants and designers and a year spent finessing the functional aspects of the design. The line includes tables in different sizes and shapes, plus cabinets and presentation furniture that incorporate cable, computers, monitors, and different projection technologies. “The elements range from technological simplicity to complex possibilities for electrification, connection, lodging projectors, etc., in order to be adapted to different situations,” says Ruiz.
Wire management and technology support were basic requirements, but Linea also supports some state-of-the-art capabilities. For example, one credenza option accommodates a short throw projector that projects a clear image through glass in the top of the cabinetry. Another features a TV lift that allows an LED flat screen to rise from the top of the credenza.
The Linea Conference Series also includes a smart, elegant solution to the common problem of overflow attendees who sit around the perimeter of the meeting room. Ruiz approached the design of the conference room as a holistic proposition, creating bench seating with integrated end and corner tables. “It is a flexible system that can be used for seating, and at the same time works as a storage unit, or as a piece to connect computers,” he says.