GUEST BLOG: From Inspiration to Execution with CORT Events

By Kellie Mayrides, CORT Events

Last winter, a pharmaceutical client of mine came to me with a request that I would come to hear over and over again from clients in all industries since that time.   They needed a furniture setup that would work well during presentations but also double as “pods” for breakout discussions within the same room. They wanted attendees to be comfortable, stimulated, able to pay attention (and have sightlines!) to speakers at the front of the room while also fostering small group conversation and collaboration.  Did I mention the room had columns?? No small task, but I LOVE being presented with a design challenge!

During the months leading up to the meeting, these top considerations helped guide us to the final room setup.

COMFORT: For attendees to be comfortable over the course of 2.5 days of meetings, dining style chairs were not going to cut it!  Only soft, upholstered pieces were up for consideration. The client wanted a modern living room feel that straddled the line between professional and convivial.  

  • STYLE:  They had given me some direction here, mentioning that they were picturing white, black or a combination of the two, with pops of color.  I created a mood board with four different furniture “sets” that fit this look. We have a huge catalog with hundreds of options so the mood board process really helped us hone in on the top choices. The client ended up preferring an all white setup anchored by our Roma Sofa.

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  • FUNCTION:  My plan of attack for achieving functionality for both presentations and small group conversation was to propose sets of 1 sofa with 2 chairs flanking either side.  This way the chairs could be turned toward the front of the room or inward toward their fellow attendees on the sofa as needed. In the end, our Swanson Swivel Chair won out for its ease of movement!

  • EXECUTION: Now that product choices had been made, it was time to lay out the room!  We originally planned to have 17 pods with 1 sofa ,1 coffee table and 2 chairs each, and then pods using backless ottomans in fun colors in the back of the room.  But after several draft floorplans, we realized that it just wasn’t going to fit. We decided to forego coffee tables and placed our Beverly Bench Ottomans in red, yellow, green and blue in front of each sofa so that the guests could form larger groups as needed and move from pod to pod throughout each day of the meeting.


After some tinkering around onsite during delivery to work around those darn columns, the final setup was complete!  

Next time you are planning a meeting, consider your end goal and the environment you’ll need to create to achieve that goal.  What do attendees need to accomplish while they are there and how can you best facilitate that? Designing your meeting with the ultimate goal in mind will always lead you down the right path.

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Kellie Mayrides, CMP is an Account Executive with CORT Furniture, working with clients based in Pennsylvania and Delaware on their events around the country to provide specialty furniture that creates an impact. She is a CMP-Certified Hospitality Professional with over 15 years of well-rounded meeting and event experience. Find her on Linkedin!