Often the first contact between a company or organisation and customer takes place in the reception area. As the setting may have a significant effect on the outcome of the contact, a good designer has to consider the visual impact of the reception area and particularly the reception desk as well as any functional requirements imposed on the furniture and fittings.
The versatility of MDF, its high strength and stability, the ease of cutting shapes, profiling edges and surfaces and the wide range of finishes that have been developed for use on MDF can be used to good effect to create a prestigious reception area for a private company or public organisation. The fact that MDF can be processed by craftsmen with limited machining facilities or run through an automated production line makes it suitable for the manufacture of individual fitments or the large scale production of integrated units.
MDF panels can be used to construct a simple reception desk consisting of a facia panel backed by a horizontal work surface with space for telephone and visitors book. MDF can equally be used to construct purpose built desks with multiple facilities for use by several staff in the reception areas of airports, hospitals or large hotels. The good dimensional stability of MDF is particularly advantageous for applications in well heated buildings in Northern Europe where low relative humidity conditions prevail throughout the winter period.
Good visual impact for the facia of' the reception desk can be achieved using wood veneers, textured plastics laminates or paint finishes which can be enhanced by application to textured or embossed MDF panels. Plastics laminate surfaces are recommended for heavy duty applications, in airports for instance. Curved facias can be constructed using thin MDF sheets laminated to the required shape using the procedure normally applied to laminated wood veneer shapes. Some MDF manufacturers are now supplying formable MDF at thicknesses up to 9.5 mm for the manufacture of curved panels.
Often, the area behind the reception desk is fitted Out With storage racks for keys, letters, directories and other reference items. These purpose built fitments can easily be manufactured from MDF.
Note should be taken of any national fire regulations necessitating the use of flame retardent MDF and the appropriate fire rated finishes.
The use of MDF for other fittings in the reception area should not be overlooked, stands or display racks for magazines or company brochures, three dimensional bases for the display of company products, works of art, or plant containers, for instance.