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People working around long table
Sheraton Community Table
Our Journey

Behind the Design: The Community Table

A long, dining-height oak table with personal drawers and integrated technology, Sheraton’s Community Table is a deceptively simple piece of furniture. Yet subtly, but surely, those clean lines are blending comfort and productivity, and Sheraton is transforming the role that hotels can play in the local community.

In fact, when Sheraton took over 4,000 square feet of space in the heart of Times Square to introduce the brand’s latest evolution at this year’s New York University (NYU) International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, the Community Table was at the core of the display.

Detail of Community Table drawer
Sheraton Community Table

Flexible enough to be placed close to the bar area or deep within a productivity zone, the long table outfits the co-working trend in a timeless fashion. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel of the communal table,” notes Brittney Weiss Hepler, senior design manager for Global Design Strategies. “What’s different and innovative is the components within the table and what it means as a catalyst for gathering.”

Different iterations of the table follow slightly different formulas depending on their planned location within a common space, but the core of the design is warm — light quarter-sawn oak with the informal feel of a dining table but the business fixtures of a contemporary desk.

“The essence of the Sheraton brand is how you create these warm and welcoming spaces that feel timeless and refined but also modern,” Hepler explains, “So you get that residential comfort but with all the tech you need to be productive.”

Community table in open lobby concept space
Sheraton Community Table

The table surface features built-in wireless charging with USB ports and plug-in chargers for laptops on the side. Hepler and her team are actively exploring how smart drawers may be built into the table, which would allow guests who want to step away from their work for a minute to secure their valuables without packing up, moving their seat or breaking flow. Some iterations, designed for placement in quiet, productive areas, include an integrated shelf at the center to cast a warm glow with task lighting and provide a comfortable sense of distance from the worker opposite; all are paired with dining-style chairs for a relaxed and informal feel.

Detail of table charging station
Sheraton Community Table

The Community Table is a response to new ways of working that are transforming the way individuals use their homes, their offices, their cities and their hotels.

“People are working remotely more and more — many companies aren’t even building enough space to house all their employees because not all of their employees are going to be in the office,” Hepler notes. “We wanted to be sure that our lobby spaces were really welcoming for people to come and work — not just for the guest who’s on the road, but also inviting locals to become a part of the community.”

While today’s communities look very different from the communities of the 1930s, Sheraton’s 80 years of legacy are reflected in the elegant material palette of the Community Table. “A lot of our work was around positioning that brand in a physical environment: warm, welcoming, familiar, a touch of heritage and a little bit timeless,” Hepler says. “We started looking at materials like oak, brass, black metal, tan leathers: Those four items are really the base.”

Currently the original 14-foot table from the NYU event sits in headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. “We’ve put it in our lobby along with some other furniture, and we’re studying it every day to see how people use it,” Hepler says. “We put it in a space that previously had tables and chairs but was always empty. Now, the Community Table is usually full with six to eight people at any given time, collaborating on projects, co-working or catching up with colleagues.”

Even in the hotel industry, it seems, the modern worker prefers not to work alone.

Discover More of Our Journey

Read more about the ways we’re evolving the travel experience.

group working at community table