Leeds Arena

Leeds, UK13,500 seats

Stand on the arena floor at Leeds Arena, and the 15 rows of retractable seating loom loftily above you. Stand at the rear of the arena however and they are dwarfed by the 47 dizzying fixed tiers behind. The fan-shaped layout not only provides an atmosphere of gladiatorial intensity, it will also provide perfect sightlines for every single spectator.

The retractable sections themselves are crucial to the arena’s diversity and therefore its revenue potential: from the outset Audience Systems were asked to produce a seating design incorporating seven different layouts, and more have since been added.  The large units open and close using power trucks – a practical and cost-effective solution for arena environments.  Used sometimes in front of the permanent tiers, sometimes facing them, and sometimes encircling a sports court, they are designed to be moved quickly and easily on forklifts.

As for the seats themselves, in line with the arena’s philosophy of giving each spectator “the best seat in the house”, high specification Espace 628 chairs are used throughout. These combine the comfort of an auditorium seat with some practical advantages. The chairs offer a very neat closed profile, maximising seatways when the seats are closed. They have also been supplied to the arena with tough plastic panels to the back which wrap around the upholstery to protect it and lengthen its life. High backed versions of the chairs are used throughout the VIP and suite areas – differentiating these premium zones while maintaining the arena’s unified aesthetic.

With cherry red upholstery, the towering rake of seating will certainly prove a daunting sight for the performers or sportsmen on the stage – and that’s before the 13,500 spectators crowd in.

"I found Audience Systems a very good company to work with. They were heavily involved during the design stage, attending numerous meetings and assisting with the final layout of the seating to make sure that we had the required amount of seats as the contract required. They attended all the prestart meetings and took on board all BAM requirements regarding deliveries, storage, access and hoisting. During installation they were very methodical and organised. Their Health & Safety was excellent with no accidents or incidents. They completed their installation on programme and the quality of the seating was very good. There was minimal snagging following the inspections, with the remedials being carried out during the client demonstrations. I would have no hesitation in using Audience Systems in the future."

Gordon Alexander, Construction Manager, Leeds Arena