Barber Osgerby wins Bodleian Libraries Chair Competition

A design by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby has won the Bodleian Libraries Chair Competition.

The winning design by Barber Osgerby
The winning design by Barber Osgerby

The winning design beat shortlisted chairs by Amanda Levete Architects working with Herman Miller, and Matthew Hilton working with SCP.

Barber Osgerby collaborated with manufacturer Isokon Plus on the design of a three-legged oak chair, which judges felt showed a strong sense of craft heritage and sculptural form while meeting ‘complex reader requirements’.

Over the next year, the chair will be developed to production standards for installation in the newly refurbished Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries, which will open its doors to readers in October 2014.

The winning design by Barber Osgerby
The winning design by Barber Osgerby

Barber Osgerby identified the rear view of the chair as being critical to its design. This profile will be most visible when the chair is in situ where a vertical timber can be seen, echoing the spines of books on shelves.

It forms one of the three legs and attaches to the sled base. The circular form of the seat frame is echoed in the armrest and seat base.

The winning design by Barber Osgerby
The winning design by Barber Osgerby

The oak chair has also been commended for its strength and lightness by judges, who included Professor Martin Roth, Director of the V&A; Sir Kenneth Grange CBE, leading industrial designer; and Professor Jeremy Myerson, Director of Design at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design.

It is only the third new chair developed specifically for the Bodleian since 1756.

L-R designs by: Barber Osgerby, Amanda Levete Architects, and Matthew Hilton
L-R designs by: Barber Osgerby, Amanda Levete Architects, and Matthew Hilton

The Bodleian Library says, ‘This chair is testament to the Bodleian Libraries’ continued commitment to creating well designed and highly considered environments for a most treasured asset, the reader.’

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