Over the past two months, six award-winning designer-manufacturer partnerships have developed designs for a new chair for the historic Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford. Responding to an exacting brief including comfort, usability, practicality, longevity and character, the designs have now been shortlisted to three. These three designs will be developed to a full scale working prototype for testing within the library environment by readers in September 2013.
Shortlisted partnerships in alphabetical order are:
- AL_A (Amanda Levete Architects) & Herman Miller
- Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, & Isokon Plus
- Matthew Hilton & SCP Ltd
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 remodelled by Wilkinson Eyre Architects to create a state-of-the-art facility when it opens its doors to readers in Autumn 2014.
As the competition enters its final stage, designers and manufacturers will fine-tune their designs to create a chair that will join an 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. The winner will be announced during the festival.