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Designer’s second triumph will make for comfy reading
FIRST he won the contest to design the London 2012 Olympic torch.
Now Witney-born Jay Osgerby has won a competition to design chairs for Oxford’s revamped Bodleian Library.
His three-legged creation will be used throughout the refurbished £75m Weston Library in Broad Street when it opens to the public in 2015.
It is the first chair commissioned by the world-famous library in 400 years.
Former Oxford Polytechnic student Mr Osgerby, of London’s Barber Osgerby, said he was thrilled to win the contest.
It was designed with his business partner Edward Barber and will be manufactured by Isokon Plus in the next year.
Mr Osgerby said: “It was a tough competition.
“It is probably one of the most important competitions in our lifetime – and these projects are rare.”
He said: “The Bodleian is a world famous institution. We have designed something that in all likelihood will be in there when we are dead and gone.”
About 60 designs were put forward and the winning one is on show at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum until November 17.
Mr Osgerby, 43, took an art foundation course at Oxford Polytechnic, now Oxford Brookes University, in 1989 and also studied at London’s Royal College of Art.
Brookes awarded him an honorary doctorate for design last year.
The former Henry Box School pupil, now based in London, said: “There is still a long way to go in terms of development.
“The general look and feel of the chair is in place.
“But we have a long way to go in the detail. We are very honoured.”
He said: “It is nice to be able to make a contribution to where I am from.”
It is the second recent triumph by the pair, who beat more than 1,000 others 2011 to design the Olympic torch.
Of the chair’s design, Mr Osgerby said: “First of all the readers can be in the library for 12 hours a day, so the chair has to be incredibly comfortable.
“It has to be iconic and instantly recognisable.”
He said: “The central leg at the back makes it quite distinctive.
“Oak and leather - they are quite classic materials to reflect the archive itself.
“It is using historic construction techniques, but the shaping of the wood itself is done by computer.”
Richard Ovenden, interim Bodley’s Librarian, said: “The Bodleian Libraries are delighted to be working with Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby and Isokon Plus to provide a new chair for our Weston Library project.
“The winning chair is characterised by a strong identity, creative approach, comfort and suitability for intense study and research.
“The competition was very strong and we would like to congratulate all shortlisted designers for their participation.”
The Weston Library, formerly the New Bodleian, will provide a secure place to store treasures including four of the surviving copies of the Magna Carta and two Shakespeare First Folios.
It will provide improved reading rooms for scholars and space for millions of books as well as public exhibition space and a cafe.
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