• Seating at Roundhouse, Camden
  • Seating at Roundhouse, Camden
  • Seating at Roundhouse, Camden
  • Seating on balcony (image credit: Charcoalblue)
  • Seating units (image credit: Charcoalblue)
  • Detail of seating units (image credit: Charcoalblue)

...innovative retractable seating system for a versatile London venue

Roundhouse Seating


Project summary


London’s Roundhouse is a renowned and respected venue for music, circus and theatre. Following our work on the building’s restoration in 2006 and on the design of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s temporary theatre, the Roundyard, Charcoalblue was invited back to conduct a feasibility study on replacing the balcony seating system. Following this study, Charcoalblue led the design and installation of a new innovative retractable seating system in conjunction with Hussey Seatway to reduced turnaround times between seating configurations from 4 days to just 4 hours.


The balcony level is an important part of the Roundhouse’s commercial strategy: it is used as a self-contained area for corporate hires in flat floor mode, as a standing audience area for gigs, and as a seating area linked to both standing and seated events in the main auditorium.


The new balcony seating system is created from 24 retractable seating units and peripherals that are deployed around the balcony to create a 180-degree audience zone of 506 seats for gigs and theatrical shows. When retracted for storage, the units can be moved on their integral wheels to the opposite end of the balcony, leaving a large clear area for functions and other hires of the balcony space. On occasions where the entire 360-degree balcony is required for specific event, the units can be forklifted from the circle to the floor level, and stored within the main auditorium or in external storage containers outside the building.


Charcoalblue were the lead design consultants from the feasibility study through design, procurement and installation, and oversaw the project to completion on site.