The Best Seat in the House, Guaranteed

Camatic Seating

With its distinctive white sail-shaped towers and massive red granite base, the Sydney Opera House was completed four decades ago, yet remains as awe-inspiring and innovative as the day it was made…

A major performing arts centre magnificently positioned at Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point, the historic project was originally considered unbuildable, and went through an engineering redesign after it was initially conceived by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Construction of the landmark structure took sixteen years, and the result was a building which remains a modern-day architectural wonder, long after it was unveiled in 1973.

Famous for its picturesque location and unique geometric design, the Sydney Opera House remains home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Ballet and the Australian Opera. It is used for plays, recordings and more. It stands as a testament to quality and innovation and maintains a place in history for many reasons, including the 5,250 seats within the world-renowned venue.

“The way we got into seating was with the Sydney Opera House,” says Ian Bruton, Global Sales Director for Camatic Seating Pty Ltd. Originally formed in the mid-sixties as Camberwell Automation – a precision repetition manufacturer – the company created by Brian Fisher was entrusted with supplying steel work, aluminium casting, and the mechanised tilt systems for the Sydney Opera House. That was in 1969, and Camatic Seating – which is today run by Fisher’s two sons David and Adam – remains a proud Australian-based family owned and operated business with customers spanning the globe.

In the half century since the business was formed, the company has earned a reputation for its quality products, innovative ergonomic designs, superior materials and on-time delivery among the world’s cinemas, theatres, opera houses, concert venues, corporations and offices, universities and colleges, conference centres and, of course, massive sports arenas, such as the Cowboys Stadium located in Arlington, Texas. A new domed stadium with a retractable roof, the stadium replaced the open-air Texas Stadium, which opened in 1971, as the home of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys. Completed in May of 2009 with seating for 80,000 but the potential to expand up to 100,000 seats, it remains the largest domed stadium in the world and a prime example of Camatic Seating’s potential.

From cinemas to sports arenas, and classrooms to boardrooms, the company has successfully taken on projects such as the Melbourne Convention Centre, a number of Village Cinema locations, the 70,000-seat Seattle Seahawks Stadium, the Benfica Stadium and many others. “America is a big partner of ours, especially with stadiums and cinemas,” says Mr Bruton of the company, whose seats can be found in venues across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Middle East, South America, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine and Canada. “We deliver product to pretty much any area of the world.”

With a staff of approximately one hundred and fifty, the business has grown over the years to become a true Australian success story. As the first company in the nation to manufacture commercial and venue seating from design concept all the way through to finished product in one location, the company continues to lead the way with rugged, innovative styling and comfortable seating solutions.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the company – through exhaustive research – explored and successfully developed innovative designs and seating concepts which were then introduced into a number of markets. These efforts were extremely successful and resulted in Camatic emerging as the largest manufacturer of theatre and stadium seats in Australia.

In the mid-1990s, its worldwide reputation grew as the company was awarded a number of projects for well-known venues, such as the refurbishment of the Pasadena Rose Bowl and the contract to supply stadium seating for the Atlanta Olympic Games. Further major contracts soon followed, from clients at home to others around the world, and the company soon established international offices in the United States and Europe to better meet the growing demand for its seating products. With a network of sales agents in various strategic parts of the world, highly skilled designers and manufacturing processes, and a distribution network that is second to none, the company takes on projects big and small for valued customers wherever needed.

As a one stop shop, Camatic Seating has the tools, technology, experience and the design and engineering teams necessary to ensure all projects are designed, built, delivered and installed to exacting client specifications. From moulding the foam used in seats to selecting the most durable, comfortable and aesthetic covering to ensuring every stitch and bolt is securely in place, Camatic Seating prides itself on working hands-on with customers worldwide to guarantee success.

Mindful of requirements – aware that fabric, for example, needs to conform to fire regulations – not just at home but abroad, the company strives to find the best solutions for all its customers. It often sources appropriate materials from right at home in Australia for projects as far away as Europe.

When considering seating solutions, the team at Camatic not only researches client needs, but takes a number of factors into consideration. While all seats are built for comfort, aesthetics and durability, some – like those used in sports arenas for devout soccer and football followers – take considerably more abuse than seats in opera houses.

Seats for stadiums are designed to withstand harder levels of abuse, such as that which comes from people standing or even jumping on them during a soccer match, or even taking a flare to them – which has happened. “These chairs are flare-resistant,” comments Mr Bruton. “They will burn and mark, but they will not catch alight.”

The company has the qualifications to create products that are durable, easy to clean and maintain and, above all, comfortable. Designing seats requires considerable advance planning based on not only where the seats will be used, but other factors. Will they be exposed to snow and ice in winter? How will sunlight and ultraviolet rays affect the fabric?

Built to last, structural elements of Camatic seats often endure for decades. “The steelwork is there, and often it just needs recovering,” explains Mr Bruton of some products built in the sixties and still in perfect working order.

Nothing is left to chance. To ensure all orders proceed as smoothly as possible all the way from placement to delivery and installation, the company frequently works with architects to understand and appreciate their requirements when it comes to seating design. “We have a range of seats and chairs that we manufacture, and on many occasions we will customise that range to accommodate certain design criteria from architects and facility managers,” says Mr Bruton. The company works with teams of preferred installers and has staff members on-hand to oversee the installation process.

To ensure quality in all seating products from start to finish, the company has its own in-house testing facilities and will also send out products to be independently tested. In addition to working closely with clients, the company also seeks the advice of plastics, fabrics and other manufacturers. “If a customer wants a unique colour, we have to allow enough time to test that colour structure so we know how it will perform four years, five years, ten years down the road in open sun and have different levels of UV protection,” explains Mr Bruton. Along with providing new products, the company also performs refurbishment of older seats, and has a supply of spare parts on hand for customers looking to renovate their venues.

Working with ergonomists, chiropractors and designers to ensure chairs are not only durable but suitable for sitting in for long periods of time, the company takes pride in the thousands of seats it has created over the decades and continually seeks to innovate. Refusing to skimp on quality, Mr Bruton says the company’s commitment to its customers is the reason they keep coming back to Camatic and refer the company to others.

“There are different levels of seating manufacture, and we like to differentiate ourselves because of our product quality and reliability,” he shares. “And, because of that, we’re not necessarily the cheapest manufacturer, but we offer products that have longevity. “It’s not only the structure of the chair but how the chair handles in the elements.”

In addition to being properly built, chairs cannot oxidise nor have their colour fade quickly. They must be able to withstand elements like snow and be able to be washed off with salt water. Other considerations, such as ease of cleaning sweat, soda, popcorn grease and other stains from cinema seats also have to be taken into consideration.

As an industry leader, Camatic realises the importance of research, development and innovation. One of its product lines is Quantum™, a range of seats which has been designed in consultation with leading ergonomists to not only be comfortable and durable, but able to maximise seating capacity. The secret is a revolutionary patented beam mount system that allows seats to be added, removed or re-spaced as events require.

“It is a chair that is put on a beam on a concrete structure, and brackets cannot get in the way,” says Mr Bruton. “The chair can then slide frictionlessly across the entire rail.” With the removal of just two bolts, a sports arena can be transformed to accommodate fans for a rock concert, with the addition of an extra 5,000 to 7,000 seats within the same venue.

More seats means additional revenue, so the innovative Quantum™ seats have become increasingly popular with venue operators around the world for their ease of use and minimal maintenance. “Part of the process is not only selling more tickets, but how quickly you can add in extra seats to the venue. So if you have to struggle with loosening and taking off bolts, picking them up, putting the chairs somewhere else, then struggling to put them back again, time is money. With these products, you need fewer people to do it and in less time. We like to think we can give clients a twenty-five to thirty per cent saving in time and manpower.”

Providing customers with innovative, attractive and durable seating options, Camatic is able to supply products in as little as twelve to sixteen weeks from the time of purchase order to delivery on site, depending on style and client location. With a number of projects underway, including the new 49ers Stadium and the Gaumont Pathé cinema chain in France, the company’s seating will be used in sports stadiums, concert halls, arenas, classrooms and conferences centres for generations to come.

“Camatic is a true partner to its customers,” emphasises Mr Bruton. “We like to stand by our products’ quality and warranty. We don’t renege on anything, because we don‘t have to: we believe in our products.”

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December 19, 2018, 5:30 PM AEDT