Concert Design began in 1994
Ergonomic, multi-adjustable seating (performance chairs, benches, stools) for all musicians, piano, harp, double bass, cello, for orchestras, schools, chamber groups. Music stand lights, piano lamps, conductor’s light.
Concert design was started by husband and wife team Sal Porretta and Lois Stouffer. Musicians themselves (piano), they knew that the traditional four-legged piano bench was incompetent to meet the physical demands of the pianist. The design needed complete overhauling. In 1994, they started to put some ideas into reality.
Design considerations included body-to-instrument requirements i.e. legs to pedals. This necessitates a forward slope of the seat. Foam wedges (which instantly flatten when sat upon) are of no benefit. The Concert Design seat gradient comes by way of the seat mechanism. The entire seat pan slopes (up to 7 degrees forward), thus keeping the support balanced and consistent. Quick height adjustment is available by way of a gas shock. At first we felt we must make the overall design resemble the traditional wooden benches (for aesthetic acceptance), but wood and metal do not marry, and we soon tossed the idea of the traditional four-legged bench and went with a ‘new look’ for our piano chair/piano bench using the very best of ergonomic and multi-adjustable components.
Focus is the musician’s health
Physical comfort and support became our focus; the design must be beneficial to one’s health.
As this was a piano chair, we needed to make it non-swivel. Since 1995, we have refined the original anti-rotation design. Concert Design chairs have quick quiet height adjustment, forward seat gradient adjustment, five-star base to eliminate tipping, and the extremely important non-swivel feature.
It is surprising how many pianists long for a back support, especially for the lengthy hours of practice and rehearsal. The Concert Design back support is removable for onstage performance if preferred. The design of the back support speaks for itself, small, can be adjusted right into the lumbar or higher, removable. The variations in back bar bend are shown on our web site.
Harp and Double Bass
In early 1995, we showed our first prototypes to local musicians at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as well as individual musicians in and around Toronto. Interest from harpists and bassists came quickly. The bass sections from both the Toronto Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic were instrumental in the various seat designs now standard on the ‘concert’basso. Bass players from Lyric Opera of Chicago contributed to the foot-support design, also suggesting that it ‘flip-up’. Subsequent requests for a portable university-student stool resulted in the ‘gig’ basso stools, and in 2005, we introduced the C4 ‘gig’ basso molto, our new aluminum frame stool, as orchestras requested a stackable lightweight run-out stool. The latest bass ‘gig’ stool is the C5, our concert version, with ultimate stability and ease of portability.
Similar stories can be told of the development of the harp bench (harp chair) and cello chairs. The portable lightweight ‘gig’ harpcello stools now complement the multi-adjustable orchestra HarpCello chair.
Allegro Orchestra Chairs
The Allegro stackable orchestra chairs were first made in steel. Once we discovered the benefits of aluminum frames, the Allegro orchestra chairs became a focal point of development. Concert Design is the only company to manufacture orchestra chairs in aluminum. The design is classy and modern; it is evident that the Allegro stands alone for good looks, as well as musician-specific features. Solid aluminum leg extensions are manually set ahead of time. The Allegro is the only orchestra chair that has a back support separate from the chair frame. This means that the back support bar can be individually chosen for the comfort and support of each musician. Details on the Allegro web page.
Halogen Music Lamps
Development of the Pearl*Lite halogen music stand lights, piano lamps and conductor’s light took place alongside the development of the chairs. All Pearl*Lite systems are specifically designed to provide a portable lighting system for music gigs where lighting is poor, are both AC and/or completely portable, battery-operated and rechargeable.
Concert Design Standard of Excellence
As the business grew and Concert Design became known, our standard of top quality products that literally last a lifetime, health-wise designs, customer service, and a willingness to work with our customers to bring complete satisfaction was at the top of our daily way of doing business and continues.
We moved in 1999
In February 1999, we moved Concert Design from our Toronto location to the tiny hamlet of Port Franks on the Ontario shores of Lake Huron. Most of our suppliers remain in the Toronto area. Lake Huron is a five-minute walk. We have a little over five acres of land, including 2200 feet of shoreline, this is Mud Creek which surrounds our house on three sides and meanders on to the lake, easily reached by small boat or canoe, we prefer to walk. This picture was taken August 2008 at beautiful Port Franks beach, which many think rivals the best beaches in the Caribbean!
Sal Porretta and Lois Stouffer,
Concert Design, Port Franks, Ontario, Canada, August 2008