Bodleian Libraries Chair

A chair designed by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby with manufacturer Isokon Plus was judged as the winner of the highly coveted Bodleian Libraries Chair Competition. The three-legged oak chair is a contemporary response to the brief which combines a strong sense of craft heritage, sculptural form and complex reader requirements. The winning chair exemplifies Barber & Osgerby’s deeply researched and intellectual approach to design. Early inspiration came from their strong local knowledge of the Bodleian Library and cultural setting combined with the practice’s expertise drawn from research for previous chair designs – notably the Tip Ton chair for Vitra.

  • Year / 2014
  • Manufacturer / Isokon Plus
The duo identified the rear view of the chair as critical to the concept of the design – the most visible aspect when the chair is in situ. A strong vertical timber, resembling the spines of books on shelves, forms one of the three legs that attaches to the sled base. The generous rounded form of the seat frame is shaped to work for most variations in physique, and is echoed in both the sled base and wide, supportive armrest ideal for use with notebooks and tablets. This circular construction produces a strong yet remarkably light oak chair. The upholstered seat has an elasticated webbing construction for support with an additional foam layer for improved comfort. The forward tilt allows ergonomic and dynamic seating positions without the need of a complex mechanism. Manufactured by Isokon Plus in the UK, the chair uses European oak and leather from a British tannery.

This is only the third new chair developed specifically for the Bodleian since 1756, and joins an illustrious group of historic chairs that have supported readers over centuries.

  • Photo credits / ©Görgy Kőrössy
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