Over the past two months, six designer-manufacturer teams have developed designs for a new chair concept that, if selected, will be produced to furnish the historic Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford in London.
Responding to an exacting brief including comfort, usability, practicality, longevity and character, the designs have now been shortlisted to three designs that will be developed to a full-scale working prototype for testing within the library environment by readers in September.
The three partnerships that have been shortlisted include AL_A (Amanda Levete Architects) and Herman Miller; Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby and Isokon Plus; and Matthew Hilton and SCP Ltd.
The original Bodleian Chair design
A final judging session will select the chair destined to become a contemporary statement in the newly refurbished Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries.
Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930s, the building is currently being remodeled by Wilkinson Eyre Architects to create a state-of-the-art facility when it opens its doors to readers in fall 2014.
As the competition enters its final stage, designers and manufacturers will fine-tune their designs to create a chair that will join a historic range of bespoke furniture for the library. The winning design will be in the enviable company of the 1756 Curator’s Chair, one of the earliest custom-made chairs for the Bodleian Libraries, and will play a crucial role in supporting the research of leading academics for decades to come.
Judging of the three final prototypes will take place in early September. A display of the competition, including full size prototypes, maquettes, designs and historic chairs from the Bodleian collection, will take place during the London Design Festival at the V&A museum and the winner will be announced during the festival.
The chairs will be on display from September 14 through 22 at the Architecture Landing, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL.