Herman Miller in running to create chair for Oxford library


The shortlist to design a new chair for the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford has been announced, with Herman Miller among the competing firms.

The furniture manufacturer will partner with designer AL_A in a UK-wide competition to create a chair for the refurbishment of the institution’s Weston Library, which will open its doors in autumn 2014.

Other partnerships to be shortlisted include Barber Osgerby & Isokon Plus, Hugo Eccles & Race Furniture, Matthew Hilton & SCP Ltd, Michael Sodeau & Modus Furniture, and TNA Design Studio & Benchmark.


Director of London’s V&A museum and competition judge Martin Roth commented: “This chair will be the chair of chairs, for the library of libraries.”

Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930s, the building is currently being remodelled by Wilkinson Eyre Architects.

The scheme embraces many original features such as door frames, light fittings, desks, typography and clocks, but breathes new life into the library with space, light and modern facilities.

The competition aims to create a chair that will join a historic range of bespoke furniture for the library, and be a future design classic.

It will follow in the footsteps of the 1756 Curator’s Chair, one of the earliest custom-made chairs for the Bodleian Libraries, reproductions of which are being made today.

The competition will see the shortlisted partnerships develop a design over the next few months to meet the detailed brief that includes comfort, usability, practicality, longevity and style.

After the submission of designs, a maximum of three entrants will be chosen to go forward and create a working prototype. The winning design will be judged and announced in September 2013.

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