De La Warr Pavillion

After winning the Jerwood Prize in 2004, Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby were commissioned to design the furniture for the newly restored De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. The project took off with the financial help of the Edward Marshall Trust, a fantastic organization that supports new design projects all over the UK. The Pavilion was completed in 1935 and designed by Erich Mendlesohn and Serge Chermayeff. The original furniture was designed by Alvar Aalto and produced by Finmar in Finland. The building was widely acclaimed as the first modernist building in Britain. In 2005, however, the building was undergoing a major renovation, following many years of neglect. Barber & Osgerby furniture was to be part of this great project.

  • Year / 2006
  • Manufacturer / Established & Sons

The modernist, rectilinear volumes of the building demanded a sculptural solution for the furniture. Barber & Osgerby observed that many chairs, particularly dining chairs, are viewed from the rear, positioned against a table. It was this fact which led to the development of a rear skid leg, the purpose of which was to create an enclosed volume, a form which provides a clear contrast with the hard lines of the building’s interior. The chair draws reference from the building and its many architectural features including the steel window frames, door handles, handrails, ceiling panels and the exterior balustrades.

The holes in the chair seat and back reduce the weight of the chair and help to increase the structural integrity, also reducing wind drag; an important consideration for the external version of the chair which occupies the windblown outdoor balconies and terraces of the Pavilion.

The chair was painted an orange-red in reference to the original color of Alvar Aalto’s wooden chairs.