You see them in trendy restaurants as in the case of Chicago's award winning Avec, encouraging mingling amongst patrons. (I absolutely love that restaurant!) A communal seating arrangement using benches instead of chairs adds intimacy to a formal setting. It encourages lengthier visits to the dining table as well as a flexible seating. They are popping up everywhere, including, the Sundance Catalog, Potterybarn,and even target for as low as $69.99. Fun!