Walking into Holloway Commons (HoCo) to grab a bite in the last few weeks, it would be hard not to notice the new light up table. This table is no ordinary piece of furniture; specifically designed for UNH by Seating Concepts, a Chicago-based company, it’s made with reclaimed metal railings from the original HoCo and features a controllable LED lighting system.
“A community table was a design element of the new building space,” dining hall operations director Jon Plodzik said. “We wanted to bring guests together around the experience of eating together.”
The table is the finishing touch to the multi-million dollar addition that HoCo has been going through over the last year.
“The table was part of the $10.5 million addition and renovation to Holloway Commons, which included all the new furniture and building components,” Plodzik said. “It cost $17,570, including delivery from the workshop in Chicago, which we considered reasonable for a custom piece of furniture made exclusively for UNH.”
The table does more than just light up, as it adds 16 seats to the largest dining hall at UNH. The table will also have culinary demonstrations on one side of it, allowing guests to sit on the other end while enjoying the experience.
“There was always an additional community table designed into the addition of Holloway Commons by the architectural firm creating the space,” Plodzik said. “Having different types of seating options is desirable to meet the needs of our guests.”
The purpose of the table is also to draw members of the UNH and Durham communities into the dining hall to experience what it has to offer. The hope is that such an experience might entice visitors to purchase a meal plan through the university.
Careful planning went into deciding precisely where the table should be set in the hall.
“Some would suggest it adds to the ambiance, experience and draw of guests to have a meal plan at UNH,” Plodzik said. “The location was chosen based on a number of factors, including visibility for others to watch what is happening on it, accessibility and guest flow around it.”
The table is able to bring both a flare and a new element to the dining experience, which few schools can say they have.
Though the table was a late arrival to the renovation, it’s possible it will be better publicized without the shadow of other major projects.
“I wish it had been completed when the rest of the addition was opened for the campus, but it’s nice that it’s late arrival has added to the experience,” Plodzik said.
Editor’s Note: As of April 20, 2016 at 8 p.m., Holloway Commons’ staff noted that the LED light display of the table was not working.