Church of England launches chair design competition

The Church of England has announced a competition to design a new congregation chair or pew which could be rolled out across its 16,000 parish churches.

Photograph by Brian Fuller
Photograph by Brian Fuller

Two categories of entry have been set up, one an open competition for professionals and the wider community to design a chair or bench, and another for students and recent graduates to design a chair for under £100. The winner of this category will receive an undisclosed cash prize and the potential opportunity to pitch to manufacturers.

There is no prize for the open competition and a Church of England spokesman says there are currently no plans to establish links with manufacturers, but it is hoped that the winning design will be brought to market.

Previous designs have failed to ubiquitously consider the needs of the historical context of churches or local parish requirements according to the CofE.

Church furniture designer Luke Hughes says, ‘Designing seating for churches is less about producing a product than it is about furnishing some of the greatest architectural interiors of all time; it’s a huge challenge to any budding furniture designer, with enormous potential for those who do it well.’ 

A judging panel comprises furniture designer and maker John Makepeace OBE, illustrator and architectural enthusiast Matthew Rice and three members of the CofE.

Entries must be submitted by 30 March 2012 and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony on 14 June at St John’s Church, Hyde Park, with an exhibition of finalists chairs.

To enter, visit www.churchcare.co.uk

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